By Kathleen Collins
It’s time to bust some nasty myths out there that prevent people from getting involved in service or volunteering!
1. “It takes a lot of time to volunteer”
People tend to adopt an all-or-nothing perspective when it comes to service. The reality is you don’t have to put all of your time into service — doing something is better than doing nothing. In fact, parents with young children actually volunteer MORE than people without children. See? Anyone can make time for service!
2. “You need specific skills”
The only skill you need is a good attitude and a desire to serve. As long as you really care about helping people, you’ll do a good job and you’ll learn important skills as you go along. And if you become an AmeriCorps member, don’t worry — you’ll receive lots of training before you start serving!
3. “You have to be young to volunteer”
You most definitely don’t have to be young to serve your community — just look at Grandma Virginia. She began serving with Foster Grandparents 25 years ago (when she was 80 years old!) and is still serving today. Grandma Virginia walks to and from Melvin Sharpe School in Washington, D.C., every day of the week to commit her time to teaching children with special needs. She is proof that service is for people of all ages.
4. “Millennials are disengaged and not involved in service”
There seems to be a stereotype that millennials are lazy — which is absurd, considering that the latest Volunteering and Civic Life in America survey found that 14 million millennials contributed 1.4 billion hours of service in 2012. If 1.4 billion hours of service is “disengaged”, then we can’t wait for them to get engaged!
5. “Service is boring”
Service can be fun as long as you find something you like to do, and the fun increases when you do it together with friends. There are plenty of opportunities out there for all different kinds of people… tutoring, disaster relief, home building. Just visit the AmeriCorps web portal or Serve.gov, select your interests, and see what’s out there!