You certainly do not have to be a pageant titleholder to get involved in community service. Helping a worthy cause is something anyone can get involved in! However, you may actually be asked to participate in community service projects to meet obligations as a pageant contestant, or even to participate in certain academic programs, clubs and organizations at your school. So, you may be asking yourself: How do I get started?
There are a few things to consider when getting involved in service projects that are worth thinking about so you can outline a plan that will enable you to find initiatives you enjoy. Getting involved in a cause you believe in allows you to pursue a service project you firmly stand behind. You may even be able to develop a platform or nonprofit one day! Here are a few points to consider when getting started.
WHAT AM I INTERESTED IN OR PASSIONATE ABOUT?
Is it helping animals in need? Honoring our veterans? Bringing awareness to food insecurity? There are hundreds of topics that involve community service projects. While all are deserving, you will find yourself more compelled to show up if you find something to support that truly inspires you. “You’ll never work a day in your life if you do what you love.” This same mindset applies to community service, so it is important to get involved in something that resonates with your heart. This may take time to figure out but it is worth exploring to find your right fit. Start doing your research to find local and national organizations that align with your beliefs and passions.
WHAT KIND OF COMMITMENT AM I COMFORTABLE WITH?
Different types of community service projects require varying degrees of your commitment. Are you willing to sacrifice time out of your schedule once a week? Once a month? Once a year? Before delving in and obligating yourself to a service project, you need to evaluate how much time you can dedicate to it. Some volunteers attend weekly meetings, some plan out larger scale events that happen maybe once or twice a year. Some volunteers may even be able to do their work virtually. No matter what amount of time you find you are able to give, it is always appreciated and valued.
WHAT OR WHO DO I WANT TO WORK DIRECTLY WITH?
Some of us truly enjoy the social aspects of volunteering while others find more joy in doing office or behind the scenes work, but it is important to remember both roles are valuable and helpful. Evaluate if you would be more suited for socially engaged tasks (like approaching patrons for donations, interacting with young children, speaking to elderly residents, etc.) or would prefer other types of work (logging information in a computer system, organizing donations, cleaning up litter, etc.). There will likely be some degree of socializing (you did reach out to volunteer after all) but some roles will present more social engagement than others. Find what you are comfortable with and then you can decide if being front and center is your speed or pulling the strings behind the scenes is more for you.
HOW DO I GET STARTED?
Now it’s time to take the plunge! Making initial contact is key to see if there are any openings for you to participate in an ongoing project or event. Find your organization of interest and their information online or give their office a call to seek out leadership that can point you in the right direction. Networking also presents wonderful volunteer opportunities, where meeting like minded people can inspire a collaborative project all your own! Pageants have served as a meeting ground for many people to find others who share their vision to help the world, but you can make these connections among your friend groups, classmates and coworkers.
Don’t be discouraged if your first experience is not a perfect fit. That is why it is important to continue exploring different roles or organizations that match your beliefs and can best utilize your skills for the community.
Now that you have an idea of how to get started, get out there and make a world of difference!
Our team advocates for worthy causes. America's Miss Sweetheart supports St Jude Children's Research Hospital and you can too by visiting https://www.stjude.org/give.html