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Why Community Service is Important

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Concorde proves through action each and every year that it believes in serving the community. Every year our health care students, faculty, and staff log thousands of hours volunteering for worthy causes and at events throughout the area. It's who we are. It's what we do. But why is performing community service important? We decided to get to the heart of the matter by taking a long, hard look at who benefits from community service and what the reasons are for doing it in the first place. 21st Century Leaders, an organization that works to inspire our nation's youth to lead, recently published a blog that explained it through community service is an important aspect of life.

Why health care students engage in community service

According to Joi Henry, a high school sophomore, community service involvement is important because volunteering teaches people of all ages and backgrounds compassion and understanding. There are opportunities to leave a mark on your community. It can be an avenue to explore areas in which you express interest. For instance, a health care student from Concorde volunteers at a blood drive or health fair. Not only can it be fun, but volunteering looks great on a resume or college application. Sometimes, performing community service is even required for high school graduation.

The case for community service for health care students

The Huffington Post recently published five reasons it's a good idea to perform community service.
  1. You would be great at it. The great news is that you don't need any qualifications to perform community service other than being a person who wants to do it. There currently are 64 million people in America doing volunteer work.
  2. It's fun and it's free. Identify what you really like to do, and there's a pretty good chance that some organization associated with your interests is going to want your help. And, if practicing cooking skills at a soup kitchen is what you want to do, or learning how to bathe a ferret at an animal shelter, you can get all the practice you want for free.
  3. You become connected to your community. You'll meet tons of good people who live near you. People who share your passions and interests.
  4. You have the time. Community service doesn't need to take up all your time. Take a family member with you, and twice the amount of service work will get done in the same amount of time.
  5. People and organizations need your help. Last year, Americans volunteered about 8 billion hours, which has an economic value of about $171 billion. This is a life-saver for some organizations. Volunteering can have a tremendous impact on the volunteer, also. Research shows that students who volunteer have improved reading, math, science and history scores. Also, students who volunteer are 19 percent more likely to graduate from college than those that don't.

How to talk about volunteering when interviewing

It always can be a tricky proposition when deciding how to present yourself during a job interview. What to talk about and when. It's no different when interviewing for a health care job. One of the trickiest aspects to bring up is one's volunteer work. Should you bring it up at all? If so, when during an interview is it most appropriate? Does it depend on actual work experience? The quality and quantity of community volunteer work? "Volunteering can be a game-changer for those with little or no experience," said Robert Gruber, Graduate Employment Specialist at Concorde's campus in North Hollywood, Calif. "If an employer can't decide between two candidates, and volunteering is on the resume or brought up in the interview, the employer may just lean toward the one with volunteer experience." Gruber said volunteer experience reveals a lot about a person's life and values.
  • People that volunteer tend to appear to have their lives together enough to be thinking of others.
  • They not only have compassion for others but feel compelled to take action.
  • They take action where the action is needed and without material compensation.
  • People that volunteer are considerate of others, not thinking about what's in it for them.
  • They are unusually optimistic, acting in a way to make the world a better place.
Gruber said the subject of volunteering can come up any time during an interview for a health care job. "If I didn't have much work experience, I might bring it up in response to the 'Tell me about yourself' question," he said. "If it doesn't feel right, I would offer it when the subject of work experience comes up. I may even offer how it prepared me to be a great candidate for the health care job."

Showing your Passion for Health Care

"Volunteering can be a way to gain some related job experience, a way to express your passion to meet a particular need and a way to give your life balance," said Joan Kilna, BHRM, Graduate Employment Specialist at Concorde's campus in Portland, Ore. "Putting volunteer experience on a resume can also express all of these things." Kilna stresses to focus on transferable skills learned while volunteering that can be used on the health care job. For example, a medical assistant interested in pediatric care and who volunteers at the local children's hospital is reinforcing desired career goals. "During the interview, treat your volunteer experience as equal with your work or externship experience," Kilna said.

Concorde health care students care

In 2018, Concorde health care students, faculty, and associates performed 4347 hours of community service in their various communities with a $136,000 value of donated time. "Community service provides an identity for the college and showcases the distinguished work we do for our students," said Vanessa Davis-Warner, Director of Student Affairs at Concorde's campus in Aurora, Colo. "Community service is also a platform to give back to the community and support the lives and needs of others." Blog-CTA_6

Do you have an Associate's degree in health care field, which is a pre-requisite for this program?