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One Building, Unlimited Resources

BLUE for a Cause


People volunteer for a many of reasons. female volunteer working with children in a conservation areaSome find it offers the ability to give something back to their community or they want to make a difference to those around them. Others feel like it provides an opportunity to develop new skills or build on existing experiences. No matter what the reason, volunteering unites them all and they find it both challenging and rewarding.

Some people are uncomfortable with the notion that a volunteer "benefits" from doing volunteer work. There is a long tradition of seeing volunteering as a form of charity, based on altruism and selflessness. The best volunteering does involve the desire to serve others, but this does not exclude other motivations, as well.

Instead of considering volunteering as something you do for people who are not as fortunate as yourself, begin to think of it as an exchange.

Consider that most people find themselves in need of some help at some point in their lives. So today you may be the person with the ability to help, but tomorrow you may be in need of someone else's volunteer effort. Even now you might be on both sides: maybe you are a tutor for someone who can't read, while last month the volunteer ambulance corps rushed you to the emergency room. Volunteering also includes "self-help." Adding your effort to the work of others makes everyone's lives better.

Dean James Ryan's 5 Essential Questions In Life

5 Essential Questions

  • "Wait, what?"  (Stop.  Get clarity before advocating for something) in order to preclude drawing our conclusions based on our own experiential base and/or bias.
  • "I wonder" which should be followed by "what if"—stimulate thinking about how to improve any circumstance in order to the benefit the common good.
  • "Couldn't we at least...?"—take even one small step in getting past opposing interests.  Live in the land of shared interests. One example of this is "Couldn't we at least agree that we all care about ________?"
  • "How can I (we) help?"—in order to convey that we don't have all the answers and that often the best solutions to issues, in part or in entirety, come from those most directly affected, if only we take the time to listen intently.
  • "What truly matters?" -- this is the question "forces us to get to the heart of the issue" and lives along side the very essence of our own core values and beliefs

Why Volunteer?

Below are some of the reasons people choose to volunteer. Tree with handprints as leaves

For some it provides an opportunity to:

  • give something back to a club, group or organization that has either directly or indirectly impacted someone's life,
  • make a difference to the lives of others
  • help the environment
  • help others less fortunate or without a voice
  • feel valued and part of a team
  • spend time away from work or a busy lifestyle
  • gain confidence and self-esteem.

Volunteering can be a route to employment, or a chance to try something new which may lead to a career change. From this perspective, volunteering can be a way of:

  • gaining new skills, knowledge and experience
  • developing existing skills and knowledge
  • enhancing a resume
  • improving your employment prospects
  • meet people who could assist in your future job search
  • use your skills and knowledge to benefit others

For others, volunteering appeals because of its social benefits. These include:

  • meeting new people and making new friends
  • a chance to socialize
  • getting to know the local community.

There is lots of anecdotal evidence that volunteering has a positive impact on health

Research Paper

For this module, you will begin working on a short research project. There will be several milestones along the way that you will need to meet. This final draft of the paper will be due in Module 14. Your instructor will be checking up on your progress from time to time and you must meet your deadlines if you want to recieve credit for the paper. So make sure to manage your time wisely and you will successfully complete this project.

The 4 phases of this project are 

  1. Research, notes and citations (10 points-Due in Module 7)
  2. Thesis and Outline of the paper (10 points-Due in Module 9)
  3. Rough Draft (30 Points-Due in Module 11)
  4. Final Draft (100 points-Due in Module 14)

Each time you see the graphic on this page to the right, you will know that there is a portion of the assignment due by the end of the module/week.



First lets talk about the expectations for this paper. This paper will specifically relate to positive community involvement and researching an area where you might have an interest in volunteering.

                      group of people drawing

The main concept for this papers is to get you thinking about ways individuals can impact the community. The best way to do that is to first research an area of need in your own community.

Step One

Step one will be to choose an area from the topics below to being to research.

You should chose a volunteer opportunity from one of these areas:

  • Issues related to Community Services (such as hunger, housing, neighborhood restoration, community gardens, etc.)
  • Issues related to Education Services (such as school volunteering, library volunteering, local YMCA art classes, etc.) 
  • Issues related to Health Services (such as elder care, volunteer clinics, active living classes, kids sports, etc.)
  • Issues related to Animal Services  (such as animal shelters, fostering pets, petting zoo volunteering,etc.)
  • Issues with Environmental Services (such as pollution, recycling, adopt a road/park, arboretum, etc.)

Step Two

Now that you have an idea of which area form the list on the Volunteers loading boxes at a foodbankprevious page you may want to volunteer, you need to find 2 artciles that highlight or discuss that need either in your community or in a general sense. So for example, let's say I want to volunteer at a local food bank because I think the food insecurity and/or the lack of healthy food choices (food deserts) are an issue in my community.

To complete this part of the assignment, I need to find 2 articles that show lack of available food resources are a problem in my community or if that is not available for your community, then in general. These need to be legitimate sources that you found using the college library databases. DO NOT JUST GOOGLE IT!!

You are going to post the article in the Research Space. We will talk more about that on the next page. Post the articles by copying and pasting the text and the citation in the Research Article 1 and Research Article 2 pages. On each page, you'll need to make notes about the article. You'll be graded on both the article and it's relevance to the topic and your notes you made. This will prepare you for the next part of the project.

Now find an third article or website about the volunteer opportunity you are considering. Copy and paste the innformation from their website on the Research Article 3 page of your Research Space. You'll need to find information about what that orgainzation does, how they are funded, and the options for volunteers that are available. Make notes on the page about what you found and how you can fit into that organization.

Use the Research Space

Once you close this module, you will see a "Research Space" link space on the left hand menu. This is where you will post all but your final draft. This is the OneNote Class Notebook. This available for free to you as a student so you do not need to purchase an account. After you sign in, you will be able to begin working on your project.

  1. Sign in using your KCKCC email credentials and password.
  2. When the page loads, you will see your name on the left pane.
  3. Click your name and a sub-section will appear for Research Space. This is where you will be posting your research articles, outline, and rough draft.
    • Research Article 1 page: Post your first article related to the issue you chose for your research paper. Include the citation.
    • Research Article 2 page: Post your second article related to the issue you chose for your research paper. Include the citation.
    • Research Article 3 page: Post a third article that talks about the volunteer opprtunity you are considering related to your chosen topic. Include the citation.
    • Thesis Statement/Outline page: Create your Thesis statement and paper outline on this page.
    • Rough Draft: Write the rough draft of your research paper on this page.

I will be able to access your project and provide guidance, assistance, and help to make sure you are on track.

Watch the video walkthrough below:

Paper Expectations

checklistThis will not be a long paper for you complete. But remember you will be completing it in stages. For this module, you will just complete the first task, research and taking notes. You'll want to refer back to this text in later modules as you continue the writing process.

  • Overall the length should be 250 to 500 words of content which is about a page and a half.
  • You should have a with a separate references page with your articles listed in proper format. You should have three references
  • The paper should be double spaced.
  • Use a 12 point with easily readable typeface (Examples: Times New Roman)
  • Your first paragraph will state the issue you feel needs to be addressed and what you could do to address it
  • Paragraph two will be your researching illustrating what the issue is that feel needs your attention
  • Paragraph three should provide details on the organization for which you are considering applying.
  • Paragraph four should wrap up the paper and summarize your work. That's it!

But remember, for this module, you just need to find 2 articles from the college library and a website or article on volunteer activity you want to explore-that will be your third research article! And remember to refer back to this list as you continue through the semester!

Writing Center

If you are having problems, be sure to contact the KCKCC Writing Center. They are a wonderful help and you can use them to help you with the process.

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Good Luck!

And again, I will be checking up on your progress throughout the weeks leading up to the due date.