There’s a saying that’s been going around for a long time: ‘You get out of life what you put into it’. That is to say, the work you put into life will directly impact how you view your life. Some of the most fulfilling work out there is done in service of others, expecting nothing in return. As a high-schooler, this is not only incredibly beneficial for yourself, but especially so for your community! There’s so much volunteer work available here in the north Dallas area, and all of it is character-building and edifying, especially for young adults. Some of the most valuable lessons you can learn in life are learned in service of others.
In Arlington, there’s a wonderful opportunity through Arlington Life Shelter to volunteer in their various activities, from painting and maintenance projects to something as simple as washing and folding laundry. There’s always something to help with there, and while it’s not glamorous, you’re directly benefiting a life of someone who’s not as fortunate as you are, and that’s a wonderful thing! For the 18-year-olds, the Stewpot has opportunities to volunteer in their meal service, or if you love working with kids they have children’s groups that could always use your help.
For you seniors, there’s a marvelous opportunity to be a big influence in the life of someone who could benefit from your life experience in the Big Brother Big Sister program. This is an amazing mentorship opportunity, where you can share your wisdom and make a real impact in the life of someone who’s younger than you. Think of the person that you looked up to the most when you were younger, and imagine being that same positive influence in the life of someone who doesn’t have a mentor. It’s a real opportunity to change a life, and while it’s a lot of responsibility, it’s an experience that is guaranteed to change your life, too.
If you’re an animal lover, then the humane societies could use your love! The Humane Society of Dallas County even respects if you’re a dog person or a cat person, and you can choose if you’d like to walk the dogs, or play with the cats, among many other activities. You’ll be volunteering as a pet socializer, and in essence you’ll be preparing the animals for their new home! That’s important, as the main purpose behind a humane shelter is to provide a safe place for animals to stay before they’re adopted out. You could play an active role in the wellbeing of animals everywhere, and if we’re honest, who would turn down an opportunity to spend a few hours playing with puppies and kittens?
For those interested in literally providing a roof over someone’s head, Habitat for Humanity is the perfect place to volunteer. They provide affordable housing for those less fortunate, by creating new homes or renovating existing ones. The place where you can come in and help is in the details, by assisting the builders on-site. There are a few age restrictions when it comes to what you can do, but any high schooler can help out! It’s such a satisfying feeling to provide for someone in need, and with this opportunity you’ll be providing families with consistent shelter for decades of their lives.
Volunteering is one of the staples of a life well lived. At the very least it takes your focus off of yourself, and no matter your age, all of us could use that perspective from time to time. The opportunity to make someone’s life better, whether human or animal, is one of the most important ones you’ll come across, and I encourage you to take them while you have the time to. It’s refreshing to your soul, and life-giving to those you serve.