The Reflections Journal: How To Make Volunteering More Meaningful
Writing Reflections is an essential step in connecting a volunteer’s experience to their larger community or role in life. Reflections help to emphasize the learning that comes from thinking about the things in which one has participated in, rather than simply doing the activity, and to have positive impact on the attitudes of volunteers regarding their service projects.
Some benefits of Reflections are:
- Gives meaning to a volunteering experience
- Can help volunteers understand the challenges of a community organization
- Helps to relieve tension after an emotionally challenging experience
- Provides recognition of accomplishments
- Offers an opportunity to realize areas for self-improvement
- Creates a sense of closure
When writing a reflection, things to consider and include:
- Writing before, during, and after the experience so that you tell a complete story.
- The outcome of the experience.
- It is okay to address negative experiences.
- Be yourself – Everyone responds to things differently and the only way to grow is by making your experience truly yours.
- Include photographs as they will better help to illustrate your experience.
- MOST Important: Do not feel that you have to get it all down in one shot. Feel free to jot down notes and save as a draft. You can go back and flesh it out more fully when you’ve had time to digest the experience.