Today’s students are a special kind of “human breed”. Their generation doesn’t have any fears of speaking their mind and supporting any cause that they trust in. They will never be afraid to step in and get involved in the community’s problems and dedicate their time to help things move further. What is more, they are very sociable and are always surrounded by people of all ages. Therefore, when it comes to involving them in the senior living community, you should first give them a clear purpose, and it shouldn’t be too difficult to get them on board. Keep reading this article and find how you can make students 100% involved in the senior community’s welfare.
Volunteering at the senior living community does not only benefit the elders who receive the service, but it also brings a lot of benefits for the students as well. Becoming a volunteer helps any students develop his personality because:
- Gives them a clear purpose and way of spending their free time;
- The accomplishment that they are getting involved in the community and helped make the difference for the elders;
- Intensive social interaction;
- Something positive to think about, helping them develop their imagination.
How to Involve Students in Volunteering at Senior Living Community
The CEO of Trustmypaper encourages the local community to involve students in activities for seniors because “students can make a difference in society even from an early age. One of the biggest benefits students bring for the senior living community is that they are enthusiast and energetic. They have always new ideas to share and are open to learn as much as they can from the most experienced ones. So, involving students in the community’s life can only bring benefits to the ones who work with them”.
1. Encourage Students Do Domestic Chores for Senior Neighbors
It may be that the idea of visiting a retirement home won’t be very exciting for students. However, this doesn’t mean that this is the only place where you can seniors who need help. There are many seniors in each neighborhood who wouldn’t mind if they received a little help with various domestic chores. So, this is a great opportunity for students to get involved and surprise their senior neighbors with a bit of help around the house. There are many activities that students of all age can do around the house and make their neighbor’s lives much easier:
- Pull the weeds in the yard;
- Help senior neighbors with watering the flowers;
- Help them clean and organize their garden;
- Dust or vacuum the neighbor’s house;
- Clean out the kitchen, garage, or closets and help them sort things out and donate to charity.
Even though there are many seniors who want to stay independent and not go to a retirement home, this doesn’t mean that they are still able to take care of their house. Therefore, any help is much appreciated from their side. In addition, having someone younger visiting their house and helping them around will energize them and make them feel they are not alone.
2. Involve students in planning the volunteering programs
When they are asked about their opinions, the students of today are not afraid to express their ideas and come with proposals of how the volunteering program should look like. What is more, if you want to have students 100% committed to the volunteering program, it is very important to catch them from the beginning. By involving students in the planning activities and helping them understand how the program works, they will be more involved and more open to support it. Therefore, it won’t become difficult to convince them about the benefits they will get from this experience. In addition, by allowing them to take ownership, they will become the biggest advocates of the program. They will immediately spread the word and talk to their friends about it, thus developing the team and gaining the others’ support also.
3. Show them how they can benefit from the volunteering program
Students are usually very busy and would always use this excuse to stay away from any extra-curriculum activities. However, this doesn’t mean that won’t have time for volunteering as long as you tap directly on the things that motivate them the most. Therefore, when you present the volunteering program, you should show them the biggest benefits they will achieve by helping seniors in their daily activities. Find what are their biggest motivators and develop the program’s benefits so that they meet those motivating factors.
- Staying around experienced adults helps students develop life skills and develop a well-rounded personality. The HR head of one of the most popular assignment writing services providers strongly believes that by allowing students get out of their comfort zone and stay around seniors, helps them appreciate life better and become socially aware.
- Let them give something back to the community. Students nowadays are open to getting involved in social projects and leave their mark on the community’s future. For them, volunteering at senior living communities is an opportunity to develop personal skills and gain work experience.
- Volunteering can be an eye-opening experience for their professional future. By meeting new people and listening to their experience, students can discover what motivates them the most and decide to take a certain career path.
4. Give them a recommendation letter
Employers nowadays value volunteering activities a lot. By getting involved in volunteering programs for a senior living community, students show commitment and a sense of responsibility. What is more, volunteering activities help them develop social skills and learn how to effectively communicate with different personalities. It is very important for students to understand that they were chosen for volunteering because they demonstrated they can be reliable, responsible, and willing to do more even though they don’t receive monetary compensation for what they do. These are some very important qualities that employers are asking for any type of job. It doesn’t matter if some students decide to pursue a career in technology or human resources, they will still need social skills to convince future employers that they can become a reliable team member. Moreover, by receiving a recommendation letter at the end of the volunteering program will convince students even more as they will have a solid proof to show their recruiters.
5. Win-win friendship experience
In the end, the biggest reward of a volunteer program in the senior living community is the chance to make new friends. Even though the age difference is significant, seniors will feel excited to share opinions with someone younger. Thus, they will forget about the negative thoughts caused by the old age and get positive of the idea to have someone close to them with whom they can discuss. On the other hand, students will be also surprised to find how many things they can share with the senior community, starting from music to sports, hobbies, or travel experiences.
The volunteering experience can be a tremendous opportunity for any student, irrespective of the career they want to pursue. It is very important that students understand how much they can benefit from the period spent around seniors. At the end of the volunteering program, they will gain a new perspective on life, strengthen their skills, and build valuable friendships.
Daniela McVicker is a freelance writer, blogger, and a contributor to Grabmyessay. She graduated from Durham University and has an MA in psychological science. Her passion is travel and finding ways to enrich students’ learning experience.