Our JMU home is located in a uniquely diverse area – over 35% of Harrisonburg City Public School students are English as a Second Language learners (ESL). Our neighbors come from all around the world; there are immigrants from Africa, South America, the Middle East, and many other places. I’ve spoken to refugees from Syria, and the stories they told were incredible! Spending time with people from diverse backgrounds has given me a valuable perspective on not only Harrisonburg, but the world as a whole. Here are some reasons on why you should take some time to give to others:
1. Volunteering makes you happy
Did you know that scientists have measured brain activity, concluding that being helpful to others delivers immense pleasure? We are hard-wired to give… the more we give, the happier we feel! Volunteering has also been correlated to decreased levels of stress, anxiety and depression. School stressing you out? No worries! Make a difference in the community and improve your well-being.
2. Making a difference
JMU also has many alternative breaks that can push you outside of your comfort zone and maybe even help you find your new passion. Dan Miller, a senior, described his first service trip saying, “24 of us drove down to spend a week in Nashville, Tennessee, volunteering at an elementary school, a food bank, a Boys and Girls Club, an environmental cleanup, and other places around the city. I learned so much from all the places and people we served, and had such a great time volunteering with a group of such fun and service minded friends!” Volunteering is a fun way to make a difference in the community in which you serve, and most of the time, it doesn’t even feel like you’re doing community service!
3. Connect yourself with the JMU and Harrisonburg community
Volunteering has helped me find some of my closest friends, and I’m sure others can say the same. Volunteering allows you to connect with the community and make it a better place. There are countless organizations here on campus that can help you find a group to serve with, or you can go on your own. There’s nothing but good that will come of it, so why not volunteer?