What is Volunteering and Why Volunteer?

Fatima Lira
Edited by Sravya Hamsala
Published on
October 25, 2023

     Upon entering high school, there are many requirements important for graduating. One of these requirements includes volunteer hours. The minimum number of hours varies per school, but regardless, it is important to not procrastinate these hours as it can create stress and limit you from applying for opportunities that require a number of hours. 

     Along with school requirements, community service hours provide numerous benefits for students. Whitby School, a private school in Connecticut, perfectly summarizes the importance of community service hours: “they expand their worldview, develop empathy and leadership skills, and realize how their actions can have a positive impact”. Developing these skills and experiences are vital for high school, college, and life beyond that. 

Why Volunteer?

Volunteering comes with many benefits that impact you on a personal scale and also school requirements/opportunities. 

     You gain knowledge, skills, companionships, and experiences that cannot exactly be found anywhere else. You have the freedom to choose where you want to volunteer and what for. You are also able to display your own capabilities and challenge yourself while having fun. Volunteering is not required to be something stressful or harmful. If you are planning to volunteer, choose something you know you will enjoy and can gain something from.

     As mentioned before, to graduate high school, you must present a number of hours that varies per school. These hours reflect your commitment to responsibilities and overall drive. Many opportunities arise as you accumulate community service hours. 

  1. To apply for the National Honors Society (NHS), around 40-50 hours are required. If accepted, you must complete NHS hours and graduate with more hours than your high school requirement or else you can be stripped from your NHS title. NHS is an incredibly honorable organization that puts light on students who display scholarship, leadership, service and character. More information can be found on the NHS website: https://www.nationalhonorsociety.org/students/membership/how-to-become-a-member/ 
  2. Multiple prominent scholarships require volunteer hours for you to apply and be considered for acceptance. Scholarships for high school students are incredibly helpful as they can reduce costs of tuition and result in minimal student loans. 
  3. College applications with volunteer hours shows that you are community minded and have certain skills suitable for the college environment. Having below 50 hours of community service, college officers may believe that you are not the most committed student.

How Can You Volunteer?

Volunteering opportunities are endless and come in the form of internal or external volunteer hours. 

Internal Hours

     Some schools may put a limit as to how many internal hours are allowed to be authorized to fulfill that graduation requirement. However, don’t let that scare you from volunteering in your school facility. 

     Multiple opportunities are offered at school and especially in clubs. Many environmental clubs offer school/town clean-up events or projects that need participants. Clubs, in general, also host fundraisers or bake sales where you can sign up and promote your club while collecting a few hours. 

     Tutoring is also another great way to get volunteer hours. Joining organizations such as NHS heavily encourages your participation as a tutor to help fellow classmates on struggles they struggle in but you excel at.

External Hours

External community service has a vast list of experiences for you to explore. Connections can be made which are essential for the future.

     Hospitals and nursing homes are excellent places to show your commitment and ability to take up responsibilities. Many students interested in the medical field may even dedicate most of their volunteering at hospitals. You learn hands-on skills and can use your passion to help others.

     There are many local food banks/soup kitchens which are easily accessible. You enrich the lives of others as the work you do helps those in your community who are in need. Feeding America is a US-based nonprofit that is connected to numerous food banks and can help you find one near you: https://www.feedingamerica.org/find-your-local-foodbank.

     Libraries are also found in most towns and are happy to provide high school students volunteer hours. Some of the tasks include shelving books and introducing new or withdrawing old books. It is a simple job that is available at any time of the year. 

     These are all just a few examples of places that offer volunteering. Websites such as Volunteer.gov allow you to search opportunities around your area. Other possible locations may include homeless shelters, animal shelters, and more! Opportunities even exist online such as Simple Studies!


Find Your Local Food Bank | Feeding America.

How to Become a Member - National Honors Society.

Why is Community Service Important - Whitby School.

Volunteer Community - volunteer.gov

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