by Joy Mizrahi
Community service is very important to me. This is why I spent my summer in a challenging course to become certified as an EMT on our town’s first aid squad. As a volunteer EMT, I spend countless hours with the first aid squad responding to 911 emergency calls. As the Cadet Sergeant, I also spend many hours training other cadets and helping to keep the cadet squad running at its best. One thing that this volunteer experience has taught me is the ability to see the world in a different way. I get the chance to see all aspects of the community and help as much as I can. There is nothing more rewarding than helping someone in his or her time of need out of the goodness of my heart. Another thing I’ve learned through my experience as a volunteer EMT is the ability to face real world problems, which also helps my decision-making skills. I have the opportunity to see the effects of people’s poor decisions first-hand, such as when I responded to a first aid call for a motor vehicle accident involving a driver under the influence of alcohol or when I responded to a call for a teenager who was not wearing a helmet while using his pogo stick. This has helped me to learn that people must think before they act..
Community service can also help to bring the community together, including people of all ages and economic classes. My experience with community service has also helped me to learn to work as a team. When I am on first aid calls, my crew members and I must work together to perform tasks that can literally save a life if we work together, such as performing CPR. Additionally, my community service experience has taught me the importance of responsibility. For example, when someone calls 911, we must respond the emergency as quickly as possible, so it always important to be on time to first aid. Furthermore, my experience with community service has taught me compassion and understanding. I see what problems people face and I see people at their worst times. This helps teach me to be an understanding person because you never know what people are truly going through. Another thing I have learned from my experience with community service is the importance of selflessness and caring about others. My volunteer experience helped me to understand that I do not have to do things in life just to get something back for my own benefit. Just knowing that I am helping someone in their time of need is rewarding enough, and I just want to do things to help others as much as I can. Community service is important not only to benefit the community, but also to teach the individual valuable life lessons.
Be a leader at a music camp…or help start your own
There are many summer music programs at high schools and local community centers. You can rack up community services hours by being a leader and helping introduce students to the world of music—playing instruments, reading and composing music, and even simply appreciating different genres.
If a program like this doesn’t exist at your school or within your community, talk to a music teacher, band conductor, or other music mentor about starting one. You might also reach out to your location parks and recreation department to see if there is a possibly of starting a summer or after-school program. That way, you could serve as both an administrator and a counselor. Consider recruiting friends and classmates to serve as fellow counselors, help fundraise, develop marketing strategies, and work through other practicalities. As with volunteer music classes, starting a camp or program shows initiative and leadership qualities.
Start a charity music group
If you have performing experience, try using it for charity or in another volunteer capacity. Like the other activities we have discussed, you could do this solo or with a group of friends who are also musicians. You could even form a traditional band featuring a vocalist with instrumental accompaniment.
Your group could play free concerts at hospitals, senior homes, local schools, or other community centers and program. You could also offer to play accompaniment for local plays. Many elementary schools don’t have musicians to play live music for their performances, although many middle and high schools do. Local theatre troupes might also need musicians, so try contacting them as well.
Turning passion into meaningful service
While we offer a few ideas here, there are many ways to turn your talent and passion for music into meaningful service for your community. Make use of friend, teacher, and other networks to find other musicians interested in playing alongside you. Reach out to community leaders, program directors, teachers, and anyone else who might share your interests and want to join your project. Before you know it, you may have a huge network of volunteers helping with your idea. Be creative and thoughtful. Brainstorm ideas, and try them out. You are sure to find a means to blend your passion with ways to help your community.
Want some more community service ideas? Check out some of our posts on getting involved with and bettering your community:
Do I Need Community Service for My College Applications?
Can I Volunteer if I’m Under Age 18?
Community Service, Reimagined: MCC’s Recommendations for High School Service
Looking for ways to get involved in more music extracurriculars, want to build your music extracurricular profile for your applications, or interested in pursuing a music degree? Read these posts:
A Guide to Leadership Roles in Music Groups
Should I Submit an Arts Supplement? The Dangers of Submitting Supplementary Application Materials
Dual Degree Music Programs: The Best of Both Worlds