Summer Volunteer Opportunities

Written by Mark Day, CCE Social Media & Marketing Intern

In today's economy, summer jobs are getting harder and harder to come by for many high school and college students. According to Northwestern University's Center for Labor Market Studies, summer employment rates for U.S. teenagers dropped from 37 percent in 2006 to 25.7 percent last summer, and a continued decline in summer job openings for this year has been predicted. These summer jobs have traditionally provided students with extra knowledge heading into academic coursework or a professional career while also helping to build valuable skills that can be utilized in their permanent job positions. Thus, more and more college students are entering the workforce unprepared due to the decline of employment in available summer positions. One way to combat the difficulties of finding seasonal employment, while still getting the experiential benefit provided by a paid job, is by volunteering.
Volunteering allows students to develop a set of skills that could similarly be learned through a paid summer job and then applied to both their academic study and future employment. These skills are commonly associated with several interpersonal factors which are applicable to almost every career and introduce students to different perspectives and diverse groups of people. Overall, “when they do have opportunities, people that go through this type of program have a leg up,” said Jim Downs, vice president of youth and community development at the YMCA, which hosts an annual Teen Corps job readiness program in the summer months.

Less than a month ago, I graduated from BinghamtonUniversity and now I am currently working as an unpaid social media and marketing intern at the Center for Civic Engagement on campus during the summer. In the fall I will be returning to BU to complete the Fast-Track MBA program with the School of Management and this internship will have provided me with additional experience in my field of study. With the limited amount of available job positions around the area this summer, I decided that this internship would provide me with complementary skills and understanding that could be applied not only to my academic coursework in the near future, but also to my professional career later next year.

While my internship with the CCE is more closely related to my college major, I have previously volunteered for several events and activities that at first seemed unrelated to my academic studies, but actually turned out to parallel some of my coursework. For example, over the last few summers I have served as a coach for a youth soccer camp which would normally be good practice for education majors or students interested in teaching; however, as a management marketing student the concepts of playing time and halftime speeches started to help me develop leadership qualities. I had to correctly sub players in and out of the game while putting them into positions that best suited their strengths and ultimately benefited the team, and all of a sudden I was relating concepts from my courses to a youth soccer game! Although I am not becoming a teacher or professional soccer coach, I still developed several leadership-related skills such as time management and a better understanding of organizational behavior, which can be applied to almost any academic setting or job. Therefore, it is important to volunteer and become engaged within the community, because even though you may not receive a paycheck like a traditional summer job, the lessons learned from your experience will be useful long into the future.   

For more information about volunteer opportunities please visit the Center for Civic Engagement’s website at cce.binghamton.edu where you can search the Service Listings for internship and volunteer opportunities locally. Also, make sure to sign up for our weekly e-newsletter to receive regular announcements about ways to get engaged in the community.

No comments:

Post a Comment