Because community service is performed free of charge, almost any form of volunteerism can find a place within community service. From physicians that offer their services at free clinics to food pantry volunteers, community services are characterized by a passion for community betterment and not a particular skill set or educational background. However, if you would like to donate your time and you are looking for service areas that contain the most opportunities; below, we list and describe the four most common community services according to the University of California’s 2008 Civic Engagement Module.
Community outreach refers to a service endeavor that “reaches out” to a community in need. In most cases, community outreach is targeted toward a particular need and therefore implies helping a certain group of people. For example, a medical clinic that focuses on helping AIDS victims may be set up in an impoverished country or particular area of a city. Conversely, a community outreach effort may focus on supplying a good and not a service, such as an outreach organization that provides winter clothing for the homeless. If you would like to help a community in a particular way, chances are that you can find an outreach effort that focuses on your interest.
Because community service opportunities depend as much on donated money as they do on donated time and goods, fundraising campaigns are constantly underway worldwide. Three types of fundraising efforts that typically support fundraising for community service are: door-to-door canvassing, outreach to businesses and corporations and, where a non-profit organization is involved, grant writing. As with community outreach, fundraising opportunities can be found in every conceivable area of service and welcome anyone that is willing to donate their time or skills to raising money.
Teaching or Educating
Teaching and educating opportunities include but are not limited to traditional classroom situations. For example, teaching and educating opportunities also focus on things such as: educating about communicable diseases, teaching a trade or a skill, money management and educating to improve literacy. In many cases, pursuing a teaching or educating opportunity does not require a teaching certificate or training certification. However, where teaching or educating efforts focus on finance or health, certain credentials or experience may be required.
Within teaching and educating opportunities lie tutoring opportunities, particularly where the focus is educating people in academic subjects that can enhance their standard of living by leading to increased job opportunities, such as English and Math. Tutoring can be performed in relation to a particular community service project or on a long-term basis through a community betterment organization. In many cases, volunteers find tutoring more rewarding than teaching or educating because it gives them a closer look at a student’s progress.