University City

Students should seek volunteer work

This feature is part of an occasional series aimed at helping students get ready for the upcoming school year.

Eric Hedinger is the assistant upper school director and high school English teacher at Providence Day School on Sardis Road.

Q. Why is it important to get involved in volunteering?

Community service and the concept of social responsibility promote values that inspire one to look within.

Community service instills and creates an understanding of the self as well as the external world. It strengthens one's personal values, builds a sense of altruism and establishes empathy within an individual.

Q. What should students think about and consider before volunteering?

Students tend to get involved in an organization when they don't really have the time to give. An hour a week is a lot of time for certain high school students. But it's all about commitment.

Students should consider how much time they are able and willing to give to a cause. They should be interested and passionate about what they are involved in.

Q. Is there a right time to start volunteering in high school?

Start early and be involved by your freshman year if possible. Long-term involvement with an organization shows consistency. A student who starts volunteering during his senior year only shows colleges that it's a check-off on his application.

Q. How can students get involved in volunteer work?

Religious organizations are a great way to get involved in community service.

Students should also consider large public organizations, like United Way, and other umbrella nonprofits, like Hands on Charlotte, Habitat for Humanity and the National Youth Leadership Council.

The Internet is a powerful tool to search for volunteer opportunities. Nowadays, students can create their own organizations with their own personal initiatives. Websites like and help students start projects and create change in their own way.