Summer Volunteering

By Isabella, age 14, New Jersey

For some people, summer means two and a half months packed with beaches, parties, friends, and romance, and every day bursting with excitement and fun. But for those of us who don't live in a novel, as nice as it is to be out of school, summer can turn into days spent slouching in front of a computer screen or flopped on a couch with the TV on. So how do you spend your time without resorting to hours on Tumblr or LOLcats?

One way is community service. Volunteering may sound like a chore, but if you approach it the right way, it can turn into a great opportunity. It gives you a chance to explore any of your interests without locking yourself in. For instance, maybe you like the idea of medicine as a career but you're not sure if you're really cut out for it. Why not volunteer at a local hospital? Or, maybe you love little kids. There are plenty of summer camps and programs for the younger set where you could help out. Once you start volunteering, you might find that you love what you're doing, which is fantastic, but you might also find that it's not meant for you. If that's the case, you can always try somewhere else. Who knows? Maybe you'll find something you're really passionate about. There's nothing more fulfilling than working for a cause you truly care for.

Not only is volunteering a great way to spend long and otherwise boring days, summer is the best time for community service. Most schools require a set number of hours to complete in order to graduate, but what with homework, the SATs, AP tests, and other trials and tribulations of high school life, it's difficult to get this done during the school year. However, in the summer, you have more than enough time to devote to volunteering without stressing over everything else in your life.

Of course, it's also important to know how to find volunteering opportunities. There are many websites online that can help you find them. Possibly the best is VolunteerMatch. There, you can put in your location, some keywords of what you want to do (such as "children"), and even if you're interested in virtual volunteering. If you select "advanced search," you can also specify such information as areas of interest and opportunities for a particular age group.

With this site, you should be all set for community service. This is a great way to explore your interests, find new ones, and still have a fun and fulfilling summer to rival those of your beach-partying friends.

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February & March Magazine Issues

March 15, 2012

The February and March issues of Sweet Designs Magazine are now online, featuring a combined 53 new articles and features!!

- Cover: Stephanie Lynn reflects on 5 years
- Cover: India (of Darn-licious knitwear)
- Life in the dumps (moving in with my bf)
- The difference between men and women
- Angels among us (parts 1 and 2)
- Arts graduates & the dark night of the soul
- Triple threat (how I survived my teen yrs)
- Dating isn't easy (my true story)
- How to turn not-so-great gifts ... (fashion)
- Ten reasons to love being single
- Taking the big leap (college)
- Valentine's Day (not what you'd expect!)
- The last of the cold (hopefully) (fashion)
- A month full of love
- Ten tips for successful airline travel
- Reasons I love writing for SDM
- Who needs love?
- They're not all the same
- The life I'm glad I don't have (fiction)
- Professional dress/ finding Fendi (fashion)
- An airport anniversary: a true story
- Inappropriate Facebook photos
- The perks of a big city (college)
- A night(mare) to forget (part 2)
- The Anita Blake series (book review)
- Saving June by Hannah Harrington (book)
- Under the Mesquite by GG McCall (book)
- The Lullaby by Sarah Dessen (book)
- If I Stay by Gayle Foreman (book review)
- My sweetheart (original poetry)
- Isn't it funny (original poetry)
- The stranger (original poetry)
- A winter wonderland (original poetry)
- One night valentine
- The thick envelopes (college acceptance)
- Southern love
- Healthy hair and vitamins
- It's a date (dating idea alternatives)
- The 30 hour famine
- School's out forever!
- Marching right back into spring? (fashion)
- Dear John
- When TV shows depict your life
- 3 Fun ways to rock spring's hottest trends
- Neglected teeth
- Starting something new
- Guy movies
- To hesitate or dive in?
- Deadly, by Julie Chibbaro (book review)
- Beastly, by Alex Flinn (book review)
- I don't care (poetry)
- Together, alone (poetry)

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