Volunteering in your community is a great way to give back, learn new skills, establish a professional network, and demonstrate responsibility. Its also a way to further explore and test whether you want to pursue a career in areas that currently interest you. For students interested in the social sciences, there are several types of community service opportunities that you can explore.
In our previous blog post we discussed community service opportunities for students interested in STEM. Here, we will focus on the social sciences. Social science covers topics like political science, gender studies, international relations, psychology, linguistics and economics. Below is a list of opportunities that help develop skills that are crucial to success in these fields.
Working with a Local Congressman/Senator
Volunteering with a local politician gives you an inside view into the workings of government. Whether you might be interested in marketing, and advertising public administration, or elected office, a voluntary position will give you exposure to campaigning and politics. You can be given a range of responsibilities including including answering phones, attending legislative hearings, answering constituent letters about various issues, and working on special projects.
Refugee/ Immigrant Services
Immigrant services can offer you opportunities in various fields, including psychology, linguistics, social work, law and international relations. Brush up on your Spanish, learn about the needs of individuals who recently immigrated, and get exposure to different cultures and political systems.
Helping the Homeless
This is another opportunity to further explore social work and psychology. While you will not be professionally counseling clients, you'll learn about the difficulties and hardships faced by the homeless population and the services available to them to address their needs. Work in the soup kitchen, help during a crisis, educate others or assist with fundraising efforts - there are many activities to get involved in.
If you are interested law, then volunteering with legal aid is the perfect opportunity to learn more about the application of law and the justice system. You can learn about various legal areas including family law, restraining orders, unlawful detainers and civil matters. You might be involved with planning and marketing, research, event coordination and/or office administration.
Volunteering for organization like the ACLU or the Center for Constitutional Rights gives you real world experience in the areas of public policy, communications, political science, social work and law and social justice. There are plenty of activities that you can partake in such as getting involved in a demonstration, writing a letter to Congress or being part of a social media campaign.
Interested in gender or women's studies? Then volunteering in a women's shelter is a wonderful way to find out more about the application of this field. You'll get exposure to the support services available to women such as counseling, housing and legal and political advocacy. You may get involved in a number of tasks including: outreach and education; administrative and office help; interpretation and translation services; and events and fundraising.
Start a Nonprofit
See a gap in services that are offered in your community? Start your own nonprofit! Start by developing your vision and mission, registering your NFP as a 501(c)(3), creating a website and fundraising. You can create an NFP in many different areas of including animal rights, environmental concerns, political advocacy, health issues or arts and culture.
We've helped hundreds of students hone in on their interests and skills through community services. We help our students find volunteer opportunities that suit their needs, schedule and location. Contact us for more information!