Volunteering comes with all kinds of benefits

Staff Editorial

Everyone should volunteer at least once.

Volunteerism is a good thing all around, and it really does make an enormous difference.

Crystal Brown, assistant director of the Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteerism, said the state of Illinois values one hour of volunteer service as a $25 donation to a nonprofit organization.

Considering how many hours Eastern alone has volunteered, our university has given over 130,000 hours, or roughly $3 million worth of donations, to nonprofit organizations. That is a huge difference, and it’s one we should all be proud of.

It takes a special type of person to volunteer—someone who is caring, open minded, selfless and eager to learn more about those less fortunate.

While the whole point of volunteerism is to give back, people don’t always realize the benefits that come with doing so.

For one, what you learn after you volunteer is invaluable.

You learn to appreciate life more and are able to open your eyes to understand situations that you may not be familiar with. You become a little less selfish and more willing to lend a helping hand whenever you can. You learn to respect hard work and dedication to that work and in turn are able to use that mind set in your everyday life.

The things you learn also vary from person to person, but in general volunteering is a good investment, and Eastern provides opportunities for students to volunteer.

The Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteerism is a contact for students who would like to explore the volunteer outlets in the Eastern and Charleston communities. The office also hosts volunteer expos that students can attend to speak directly with the organizations and its leaders.

There are also days of service, like the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, when the office coordinates volunteer events that students can participate in.

Another opportunity is Panther Service Day, which is April 6.

During this day, if you decide to volunteer, you will be able to help out at several locations in Charleston and in surrounding cities and towns such as Arcola, Ashmore or Mattoon.

The last day to register for Panther Service Day is March 21.

Volunteering is worth it, so give it a shot.