Those who volunteer in Florida’s underprivileged communities with at risk individuals make an incredible difference in the lives of the people they interact with. Because of the way Florida is portrayed in the media, a glamorous party scene, many people do not realize that Florida has some poverty stricken low income areas where drug sales and gang activity run rampant. Organizations such as Kiwanis, the Boys & Girls Club of Florida and a number of shelters work to combat the negative influences that encroach upon these neighborhoods through positive reinforcement and interactions with both children and adults. The efforts of these organizations have been very positive in decreasing crime rates, lowering cases of substance abuse and helping build a stronger sense of community.
- Decreasing crime rates is one of the most positive contributions that private volunteers and volunteer organizations make to at-risk communities in Florida. There are many cases of violent crimes, as well as the sale and trafficking of illegal substances that occur within the state of Florida. This criminal element thrives because new generations are continuously exposed to it and repeat harmful patterns. But volunteers intervene into these situations, interrupting their ongoing cycle.
- Decreasing and treating substance abuse is another important element to volunteering in underprivileged communities in Florida. Substance abuse and addiction are a type of disorder, largely brought on by adverse experiences in a person’s youth. Substance abuse and addiction are detrimental to a person’s physical and mental health, and are wise to practice controlling and eliminating. Abusing illegal substances also represents a crime element that communities are healthier without, which volunteers impress on at risk individuals.
- Building a stronger sense of community within an underprivileged district is one of the primary functions of a civic volunteer. This may be achieved through activities such as community meals, restoring a park, painting fences or helping needy individuals with tasks they cannot accomplish on their own. This is important because a sense of pride in one’s community is the backbone of a strong, healthy community. This promotes positive interactions and stronger relationships than in a community with members that are closed off from one another.