How Group Service Projects Can Enhance your Host Site Experience
Many people know that volunteering can be a very meaningful experience. By volunteering, you are making a difference, learning something new, and supporting a good cause. However, another hidden benefit of volunteering for NHC members is that it can actually be a good opportunity to enhance your host site experience.
For some background information, I serve at Legal Council for Health Justice as a Children and Families Health Advocate. Legal Council for Health Justice is a non-profit organization that provides legal aid services for low-income populations. There are different teams that focus on specific legal issues, such as: housing, public benefits, etc. For my position, I primarily serve children who experience legal issues surrounding special education.
For NHC Chicago’s MLK Day of Service, we volunteered at a local elementary school in Bronzeville, Chicago. This school is a part of Chicago Public Schools (CPS), which is the third-largest school district in the United States. For this project, our group aided in organizing the school by painting murals, organizing their libraries, and cleaning up outside spaces.
Many of the clients that I serve attend CPS schools. Because of this, volunteering at a CPS school gave me useful insight on the day to day life of CPS students. It was also very educating to see that these are the types of schools that the clients that I serve attend.
In addition, most of the interactions I have with clients are virtual. Because of this, there can be times where it can feel difficult to see a “visible” impact on the population I am serving. However, visiting the elementary school and seeing that these are the schools that clients attend made me understand that the services that I provide really does make a significant impact on the population. This service project was definitely an eye-opening experience for me, and helped me become more familiar with the population that I serve.
Service projects can connect with your role at your host site in many more ways than you think. As we continue with our monthly group service projects, I encourage you to reflect on how they can aid in your host site experience.