A community helper is someone who takes an active part in making their neighbourhood a better place to live. They give some of their spare time for free in order to have a say, make a difference or to give something back. In the process they learn new or hone existing skills, meet new people and gain a wealth of experience. Becoming a community helper is a win-win situation for everyone.
There are really interesting opportunities for volunteering in the community and I have learned a lot from doing research for this post. I was really surprised to learn that it is possible to volunteer for the police force.
You can volunteer for the police by using IT skills by watching CCTV footage, or updating websites, you can help process fingerprints or help with the Speed Watch initiative. You can also help as an office or admin volunteer at the station.
If you have gained enough experience volunteering for the police force, you can eventually apply to be a Special Constable. A Special Constable does not have the same powers as the police (they can't arrest people) but they do help to make the most of police resources.
It is also possible for young people to serve as volunteer cadets. They can get practical experience and training and make an informed decision abou pursuing a career in the police force. This opportunity also helps to channel young people away from crime. In the UK you cannot apply for a career in law enforcement if you have a criminal record.
There are also organisations around the country that help people when they move to an area. Home Start is a charity/organisation that helps families who are going through a difficult time. They will support someone emotionally or practically with issues that they might have.
I have personally volunteered in my community in a few different ways. One of the ways that I volunteer is with a local youth brass band. I sit and support beginners either by playing the music along with them, or by pointing to the notes they need to play. I also write down valve fingerings or slide positions for them.
Sometimes it happens that people have trouble with 'Officialdom' and in that case, there is an organisation that is called Citizens Advice Bureau also known as the CAB (C - A - B - not cab). The people who work there are volunteers and they help local residents with all manner of problems including but not limited to working with the Local Authority, landlord and tenancy disagreements, benefit claimants who have had their benefits cut off or are trying to apply for benefits.
People can also volunteer to teach adults some skills that they didn't get when they were in school, skills such as literacy and numeracy. There is also the option to teach adults Skills for Life. One of my friends teaches adults how to cook a particular genre of food. These teaching opportunities are often offered through the Local Authority or a local college (a place that 16 - 18 year olds go for their Grade 11 and 12 equivalent in the UK).
There are so many ways to volunteer in the local community, what opportunities do you have where you are?
This blog post is part of the Unit Study Blog Roundup on Community Helpers. Please do see what the other bloggers have posted by clicking on the links below the picture:
Community Helpers Letter Find Worksheets from 3 Boys and a Dog
Spanish Community Helpers Printable Pack from Look! We're Learning!
Teaching Preschoolers about Community Helpers from CraftCreateCalm
Teaching Children to Appreciate Community Helpers from Crafty Mama in ME
How Kids Can Help In The Community from Play Dough & Popsicles
Fire Station Tour from Something 2 Offer
Community Service Books from The Jenny Evolution
Community Helpers in the UK from Tales of Education at Home
Community Helpers Graphing Game from Simple Fun for Kids
Community Helper Learning Toys from Brain Power Boy
Community Helper SuDoKu from Royal Baloo
Community Helper Game from Schooling a Monkey