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Why is it important to give back to the community?

by Chloe Baird

Community services are services that are designed to help the public – that is, the community. They can be run by both government and non-government agencies.

Some names you may be familiar with include the St Vincent De Paul Society, Meals on Wheels and Mission Australia.

The kinds of services community services organisations offer depend on the group of people they’re aiming to help. For example, asylum seekers, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, elderly people, people struggling with homelessness or people living with a disability.

Community services most often provide emergency housing, food relief, mental health, counselling, health clinics, child care services, aged care support, disability support and other services to the particular group of people their organisation is aimed at helping.

How can you make a difference working in community services?

What are the social benefits of community services?

The social benefits of community services are important for a number of reasons.

For one, community services make a real difference in the lives of vulnerable people. Community services organisations are most often set up to help a specific group of people (for example, people in crisis). Often, the people these organisations are designed to help do not have the resources to help themselves. This means that without the assistance of community services organisations, these people would slip through the cracks.

Community services can help vulnerable people by:

  • providing much-needed support and assistance (such as food or clothing donations)
  • connecting them with other support services that can help them
  • providing advice and information
  • helping them to connect with other people who have had similar experiences.

Alternatively, if you do want to pursue a career in community services, then volunteering could help you pave the way towards a paying job. By showing potential employers your volunteer experience, you prove that you’re committed to making a difference in community services and that you have valuable, first-hand experience in the field.

Volunteering could also help you to see if community services is the right fit for you before you decide to make it your career.

Why is volunteering in community services important?

If you have a real interest in helping others, this doesn’t necessarily mean you have to make it your day job. You can choose to make a difference by volunteering in community services.

Volunteering is important and can have psychological benefits and be beneficial for your mental health. Not only does it fill you with a sense of accomplishment, but you’re also supporting vulnerable people who need a helping hand.

Volunteering can be beneficial to you in the following ways:

  • Volunteering allows you to give back to your community.
  • It can help you gain new skills and experiences that you can add to your resume.
  • Volunteering can improve your confidence and self-esteem.
  • It can get you out of your comfort zone.
  • Volunteering can allow you to collaborate with others and improve your teamwork skills.
  • It can help you to develop leadership skills.
  • It can also help you build relationships with like-minded people.

Alternatively, if you do want to pursue a career in community services, then volunteering could help you pave the way towards a paying job. By showing potential employers your volunteer experience, you prove that you’re committed to making a difference in community services and that you have valuable, first-hand experience in the field.

Volunteering could also help you to see if community services is the right fit for you before you decide to make it your career.

Volunteering in community services has a number of benefits.

What kind of jobs can I get in community services?

Client areas in the community services sector include:

  • Aged care
  • Disability services
  • Indigenous and multicultural support
  • Asylum seekers and refugee services
  • Mental health and counselling
  • Child protection
  • Family services
  • Schools
  • Emergency relief
  • Youth justice
  • Housing and community development

Some of the jobs in community services include:

Counsellor

While there are many different career paths you could follow as a Counsellor, but the main goal of the role is to provide support and guidance to their clients by helping the client talk through their personal concerns. In doing this, they can empower their clients to gain a deeper and clearer understanding of their issues, explore different options for getting help and develop coping strategies.

Youth Worker

Youth work itself is a rather broad term for a career that involves safeguarding young people and aiding in their development. Youth Workers work with at-risk kids and teens who may be struggling with a range of different issues. These could cover different areas of a young person’s life, from mental health to financial issues.  

Mental Health Worker

A Mental Health Worker’s primary role is to support and help people living with mental illness, substance use disorders, and other social problems. Mental Health Workers work directly with vulnerable people who need support and guidance. These people could be struggling with stress, anxiety and depression that has recently manifested because of a recent event. Or they could have ongoing issues that they have lived with their entire lives, and are seeking guidance from a professional to help manage them. 

Community Aged Care Support Worker

As an Aged Care Support Worker, you’ll be supporting people who live in residential community homes. You could also help arrange and organise daily activities and also group activities within the community. Group activities could be anything from a local book club to exercise classes, arts and craft classes to walking groups. 

Disability Support Worker

Disability Support Workers can work in community centres, in private homes, group homes, hospitals or other facilities. They work to support and empower people who are living with a disability. Like many other roles in community services, the day-to-day of a Disability Support Worker can be busy and varied. They could help their clients with daily living and household tasks, such as cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, or budgeting; facilitating programs which help their clients live more independently; or organise social outings and events.

Are you looking to study community services online?

Are you looking to begin a career in community services? Gaining a qualification could help your resume stand out.

Open Colleges offers the CHC52015 Diploma of Community Services as an online course or as an on-campus course (for students in SA or WA only).

Obtaining a CHC52015 Diploma of Community Services will provide you with the necessary skills and knowledge you need to make a real impact on the lives of vulnerable people.

What are you waiting for? Enrol in an online or on-campus course today with OC.

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