Volunteering Checklists

How Volunteering Can Help Offset College Costs

Harness your high school volunteering habit into real rewards on your college expenses.

As many of America’s 20.5 million college students would attest, education does not come cheap. But there may be a way that you can learn more about your community, gain valuable skills and potentially save money on your college tuition — simply by volunteering your time and effort.

Students who participate in volunteer projects throughout their high school careers are often able to receive better scholarships and other grants that support community engagement and activities. Consider the ways that volunteering could benefit you, your college costs and your future career.

How volunteering helps

When you have the chance to shine, your passion and success follows. Spending time at a local animal shelter, retirement community or hospital can earn you both experience and accolades on your college application.

If you have an idea of what you want to study at university, consider volunteer opportunities that can both diversify your experience and qualify for scholarships or grants that could ease your student loan burden.

Volunteering in college

Once you’ve started college, you may be able to find time for opportunities that give back to the community and make a difference to your financial bottom line.

For instance, if you’re already considering joining the military, you can set yourself up to cutting down on costs by joining the ROTC — or the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps. The ROTC helps you pay your college tuition while you serve your country. ROTC provides scholarships of up to $80,000 toward tuition and educational fees for students who enroll during college or in high school. It can also assist you along your career path, helping you excel and save on expenses throughout college.

And don’t underestimate the impact volunteering can have on your future employers. Volunteering can make you more hireable in an area of service that you’re passionate about, showing real commitment to your community. You’ll gain skills that are important when working with a team, getting to know the unique issues that people in your city face. You’ll be potentially working toward leadership positions, building skills that are highly prized by employers when deciding among new college grads.

But it doesn’t have to be just another tactic to fleshing out your resume. Volunteering for organizations within your major can provide experiences that dovetail with your studies, enriching what you’ve learned in the classroom, better preparing you for your chosen career.

What you can do after college

Whether you need to pay off student loans or pay for continued education at a reduced cost, post-college service opportunities abound.


AmeriCorps is a group of volunteers sent to locations around the US to teach, support at-risk communities and work within some of America’s poorest neighborhoods. AmeriCorps volunteers can receive a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award after fulfilling their term of service, which can be used for paying off student loans or advancing your education.

National Health Service Corps

If you’re pursuing a career in medicine, National Health Service Corp volunteers provide medical care to rural communities and communities that lack qualified health professionals. The NHSC offers scholarships for students who are still in medical school, and helps medical professionals who have already graduated pay off student loans after they’ve fulfilled their service term.

Peace Corps

The Peace Corps gives students a way to volunteer around the world while keeping an eye on graduate school. Volunteers can serve while pursuing a master’s degree program abroad and participate in the Coverdell Fellows Program, which provides financial assistance to volunteers who want to volunteer in the US. Just ensure you don’t lose out on the offset with high fees associated with moving money around while volunteering overseas, compare providers to find most cost effective options.

Consider student loans

Whether choosing to offset college through volunteering during or after college, keep in mind that while a huge expense, college is one that will pay off in the long run. To do this it helps to look ahead at the return your investment and work out whether the career you pick will support the level of debt you’ve accrued to get there. finder.com recently broke down the value of a student loan against potential future earnings based on LinkedIn’s Top 20 Highest Paying Jobs of 2017.

What we found is that it’s worthwhile to figure out whether your future career has a good return on investment — and that student loans can help ease some of the financial burden until you make good on that ROI.

Remember, it’s never too early — or too late — to start volunteering with a group or organization that you’re passionate about. You just might be able to both change your life and save money in the end.

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Written by Michelle Hutchison. Michelle is finder.com’s resident Money Expert and is passionate about helping Americans make better financial decisions. She has been in the financial services industry for over seven years and has previously worked as a journalist and editor.

Who is finder.com?

finder.com is a personal finance comparison website, which helps Americans compare financial products online so they can make better informed decisions. Visit finder.com to compare and learn about credit cards, mortgages, personal loans, international money transfers, life and travel insurance, shopping coupon codes, and so much more before choosing the option that best suits their needs.

Best of all, finder.com is completely free to use. We’re not a bank or insurer, nor are we owned by one, and we are not a product issuer or a credit provider. We’re not affiliated with any one institution or outlet, so it’s genuine advice from a team of experts who care about helping you find better.


Pursue Your Passion: A Guide to Finding Your Major

It can be so frustrating when you are trying to pick a major and everyone says, “Just follow your passion!” – Yeah, absolutely. You’d love to do that but you don’t even know what your passion is! So, where do you start on such a HUGE life decision? Just remember the famous words of wisdom from Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu who said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” Take the first step on your journey to change the world by starting with these 3 easy things.

  1. Start to Figure Out Who You Are

The first step to finding what you are passionate about is figuring out who you are. Discovering who you are is a life-long task and is constantly changing. I always hated being told to “describe yourself in 3 words.” With over 170,000 words in the English language, how can I pick only 3?! Everyone is more than just 3 words. We are all different kinds of adjectives and nouns. We have many strengths, attributes, and talents, many that we haven’t even discovered yet. The only way to discover them is by stepping out of your comfort zone.

One way to take that first step is to take an online personality quiz. Oprah.com offers a quiz based on personality science and identifies information to give you the best shot at fulfilling your potential http://www.oprah.com/omagazine/Who-Are-You-Meant-to-Be-Self-Assessment-Quiz_1.

Another way is to find something that you love. But you’re not sure what you love? Try volunteering. Go out and work with animals, seniors, special needs kids, sports, veterans many other causes. Join a group like Lion’s Heart to help you find opportunities to volunteer with groups like the ASPCA and animal shelters, the military or something as simple as tutoring young kids. Lion’s Heart makes it easy to go out into the community to experience and explore what you are interested in or even to try something new. You’ll never know what you love until you try it all!!

  1. Have the Right Attitude

Let’s just say that you have a big test next Friday in your history class. Even though you spent hours studying, you really believe you are going to fail it. If you go into the test thinking that you are going to fail, you probably will. Stay positive and you just may surprise yourself.

The same thing applies to finding your passion. If you are always telling yourself “I’m never going to find what I love.” Then finding it will be almost impossible! It is essential to keep a positive attitude. Assume the position of knowing you CAN do what you want with your life, if you do then you are half-way there!

A great way to help keep this positive attitude is to find a role model. Whether it is a family member, teacher or coach, look for them everywhere. Find someone who followed their passion and look at how they did it. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Be inspired and copy it.

  1. Be Curious

When you are looking for a major that you are passionate about, be curious. Seek out all the information you can. Consider all the factors that go along with it. Anything from employment rates to work load, it all matters. To start your search, check out these websites!



Finding your passion is a journey within its self. It may change as you change. Just remember to always believe in yourself, enjoy the journey, and follow what excites you.


Written by Allie Butler, Lion’s Heart Team Blogger 

Social media, Graphic Design, and Digital Marketing Intern – Student at Colorado State University-Pueblo. Majoring in Integrated Communications and minoring in graphic design and marketing.


Ways to Volunteer Over Summer Break

With homework and extracurricular school activities finished for the year, what better time to get a variety volunteer activities and experiences under your belt?

Volunteering can lead to a hidden passion that you may want to pursue in college, it can give you a sense of community and belonging, and it can look great to those college admissions officers and employers!

With school out, summer is a prime time to earn some volunteer hours.

Here are some ideas to help in your community this summer:

  • Volunteer at the library. Most libraries provide reading programs for small children, they are always looking for volunteers.

  • Help at Relay for Life or another walk/run for charity.

  • Volunteer at a hospital or senior center, make some time to visit and entertain them. There is no doubt that they will appreciate it.

  • Volunteer at your local soup kitchen or food pantry to get supplies packed up and to serve food to the homeless.

  • Volunteer at an animal shelter. Walk the dogs, be a companion for the animals.

  • Donate some old toys, blankets, shoes and clothing to a homeless shelter.

  • Make homemade cards with your friends to send to soldiers overseas or to deliver to your local hospital’s children’s ward to cheer them up.

  • Help with a beach or park clean up.

  • Volunteer at a local summer camp

  • Volunteer to help get teachers classrooms ready for the new school year.

Summer just started and what better way to earn hours and enjoy your summer than to volunteer some of that down time to others in need.

Giving back to your community can not only help others but can make you feel REALLY good!

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5 Lessons Teens Learn When They Volunteer

We are thrilled to have the opportunity to guest blog on VolunteerSpot.

Community service is becoming a pillar in the edifice of American teenagedom. While school, sports, and even camp can be tightly scheduled and scripted experiences for students, community service offers an authentic, unscripted experience in contrast. Whether it’s serving hours towards a volunteer goal with a school group, going on Mission Trips with their faith community, or simply helping others with friends or family, volunteering is a life-changing, life-prepping activity young people should experience.

These key lessons and takeaways are the strongholds of why:  Read more here.

For more information on Lion’s Heart see our website lionsheartservice.org.

BlOoD dRiVe

Image provided by mmotc.org

Save two lives today, just by taking a few minutes out of your time and donating your blood! On July 17th from 8:00am-2:00pm a Blood Drive is taking place at Coto Golf and Raquet Club main clubhouse.

Volunteers are needed for two hours shifts to check in people and help at the refreshment table.  Contact Corey Tabor at Corey.Tabor@ourclub.com

Top 10 Reasons to Volunteer

10. Challenge and Success – You can challenge yourself and others to make a difference in your school and community. The best way to experience success is by overcoming a challenge.

9. Take Action and Make an Impact

8. Leadership – You can gain leadership skills and build a sense of responsibility.

7. Experience Community service looks great on college applications and resumes.

6. Volunteering Strengthens your Community – As a volunteer you help support families, improve schools, support youth, and beautify the community.

5. It’s Fun

4. Friends – Volunteering brings people together from diverse backgrounds to work toward a common goal.

3. Adventure You and your friends can go to new places, While learning and doing different things.

2. You get a chance to give back