Volunteering can be a valuable way for students to develop new skills and give back to their communities. We spoke with Herzing-Minneapolis dental hygiene student Jennifer Harris about her volunteering experience and how it has shaped her future career.
Why do you feel is it important for students to volunteer in their communities?
I believe that we have a responsibility to take care of the people around us. By volunteering as students, we are not only able to give back, we are able to learn. We can become more capable of understanding others and gain an awareness of the challenges that people face within our communities. Together, we able are able to make a change.
Are you involved in any volunteer organizations? How did you find them?
I was inspired to start volunteering after talking with a former coworker. She currently volunteers as a dental assistant in a low-income community, and she has been a big inspiration for me in my career.
I recently learned about the opportunity to join the Student American Dental Hygiene Association (SAHDA), which is a volunteer network we can become involved in as dental hygiene students. The mission of SAHDA is to improve public health and help ensure access to quality dental care. I have already talked to my advisor about joining SAHDA and I am looking into ways that I can volunteer at local clinics after graduation.
Another great volunteer opportunity for dental hygiene students is the Minnesota Mission of Mercy, which is a community service project that helps provide free dental services for many people in Minnesota that do not have access to quality care.
How has volunteering made an impact on your life and future career?
I enjoy volunteering because it is a chance to commit to something outside of my personal and business life. It is an opportunity to commit to something bigger than me. I look forward to helping people and making a change for the better.
I’ve learned that by helping the people around you, you can also help yourself. Volunteering can help you build your communication skills and also help you gain professional experience. Volunteering your time to give back to others is an opportunity you do not want to miss.
* Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2021. BLS estimates do not represent entry-level wages and/or salaries. Multiple factors, including prior experience, age, geography market in which you want to work and degree field, will affect career outcomes and earnings. Herzing neither represents that its graduates will earn the average salaries calculated by BLS for a particular job nor guarantees that graduation from its program will result in a job, promotion, salary increase or other career growth.