Community service benefits society and the overall health of those who volunteer

Members of the Hands & Feet Club during their trash pick-up service project. This project’s goal was to keep Starkville beautiful.

Communities bring together varieties of individuals and allow them to take part in the larger goal of nourishing the region. For college students, community service may seem like a tedious way to boost the appearance of their resume, but service participation can mean a lot more than appearances to the individual as well as the entire society. Students should strive to become involved in service to expand their connections, well-being and abilities.

According to Heather Lafferty, CEO and executive director of Habitat for Humanity Metro Denver, community service involvement helps build connections in a technologically dominant world. The reliance on technology proves to isolate individuals from real life interaction which limits them from understanding others in their area.

In-person connections allow us to strengthen the definition of community by serving others and building local relationships. Lafferty expands her idea by saying, "Connections between people are what make us human." Community service allows us to make these connections which can give us a chance to step back from our phone screens and focus on what it means to interact with others.

Western Connecticut State University (WCSU) states that community volunteering benefits mental and physical health. By participating in service projects, a sense of accomplishment gathered from the experience can improve the self-esteem of participants. This renewed self-esteem can lead to a more positive outlook on personal goals. While service can heighten self-esteem, it can also diminish the effects of depression through consistent interaction. Depression is linked to social isolation and community service encourages interpersonal interaction. According to WCSU, being an active service member in your community has also been proven to lower mortality rate resulting in overall better physical help for participants.

Community participation benefits both the society we take part in and our personal well-being because of the support system acquired from the decision to serve. As we build the status of our surroundings, we are simultaneously building up and serving ourselves through a symbiotic relationship.

Mark Horoszowski of Forbes explains volunteering helps individuals develop new skills which can benefit their personal career goals. Communication capability and teamwork skills are sharpened through community involvement. Students also develop the ability to solve problems and step into leadership roles through these programs with challenging experiences which cause them to think outside the box. These skills are important to have when entering the career realm as they build rapport behind an applicant's ability to cooperate with others.

Students should endeavor upon volunteer opportunities to show their support and care for the community they live in. The efforts made through volunteering show improvements in town operation and cooperation. Involvement builds the bonds between students and residents who share the common goal of making Starkville great. It is easy to get involved in Starkville because of the wide range of opportunities available to take part in. Imagine how much Starkville would develop if all hands were on deck.

Volunteer opportunities currently include, but are not limited to the Starkville Public Library, Ms. Smith's Educational Services, Maroon Edition Habitat for Humanity and Bully's Closet and Pantry.

For more information on how to become involved in the Starkville community, visit www.mvc.msstate.edu/programs.

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