Connection Through Volunteerism

Brian Barber, “Connection Through Volunteerism”
Mentor: Benjamin Trager, Community-Based Learning, Leadership, and Research

Reflecting on the impact my experiences of volunteering gave me, I’ve noticed a serious change that has uplifted me in ways that I could only explain by posing the following question. “How does volunteering through a youth mentoring program influence sense of individual growth and my connection to the community?”. The method I used during the volunteering was guided reflection and then I incorporated free reflection. Through my volunteering I see the change in my mentee’s attitude and demeanor towards school and activities, demonstrating that he is more engaged than when we first began. I also personally experience the direct results of social capital growth through volunteering. I now feel more connected to the community in which I belong because I’ m volunteering in it. I have personally become more enriched due to the increased sense of belonging and purpose. Importantly, my findings coincide with Yosso’s idea of social capital. As I help in my community, I become more aware and present within it. This profound connection to my community develops my social growth. This growth is what I believe connects it to Yosso’s idea of social capital. Through volunteering I have found a sense of belonging and purpose and seen how the volunteering affects others. This has shaped my sense of individual growth. By volunteering in the community, I feel more connected, because I’m taking an active part in it. My research focused on my experience and not so much of the mentees which was one of the limitations of the project. Yet, this research sheds light on an important issue of being able to relate to others and having a sense of belongingness.

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  1. I appreciate Brian’s interest in reflecting on how volunteering has an impact on the volunteer. This idea is somewhat novel, in that research on volunteering has often focused on those receiving the services, rather than those providing them. I found this project showed a reasonable level of understanding about the literature, but more information on guided versus free reflection, as well as how themes were identified would have strengthened the methods section. Further, this poster was somewhat difficult to read. Breaking points into smaller sections, rather than full paragraphs may have made the sections more digestible. I look forward to hopefully seeing additional analysis on this project, and would enjoy the opportunity to observe an oral presentation. Overall, this was an interesting idea that was well-situated in the theoretical framework and presented in a visually organized way.

    1. Thank you for the comments and constructive critique, I appreciate the insight greatly.

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