As Volunteer Week draws to a close, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on what volunteering has meant to me and what it has taught me along the way.
I was asked to answer a few questions around one of the volunteering jobs I had; what I found most challenging, what advice I would give and so on and so forth. And to answer them I had to try and capture a hundred thoughts and priceless experiences and articulate them in a sentence or two. It’s hard to try and explain the layers of emotions, skills and experiences that volunteering gives you in even just a short space of time.
Do you remember that episode of Friends, the one where Phoebe does everything in her power to do a selfless good deed and it becomes increasingly obvious that it’s actually quite difficult to achieve? Well, I started thinking about that concept in general, is volunteering a selfless deed? In my case no, it most definitely was not selfless as I absolutely loved every second of it. I love engaging with new people, giving people a non-judgemental ear when the world is spilling over with opinions and seeing people progress over time. I feel better about myself when I’m given the chance to help others. So much so that I decided to make it a full-time goal, so again, the deed was not ‘selfless’ because the voluntary work ultimately served another purpose, it gave me the chance to turn my passions into a job. Volunteering opens up a whole world of wonderful opportunities and awakens senses in you that you may not have even known were there.
The wonderful thing about volunteering is that everyone, no matter their interests, could find an endless list of charities and organisations to volunteer with and give as little or as much time as you have. Whether you volunteer for one day out of a year or for four hours a week, there is never a shortage of roles that would be suited to you.
You may want to help animals that have been mistreated or need a better home, you may want to help young people through a difficult time in their life, or you may want to ensure the voice of someone who has had theirs taken away, is heard. There may be a cause that is extremely close to your heart and you may have a personal connection which draws you close to a particular objective, whatever it might be, you will find that you learn as much as you give.
One of the most precious things in life is time, our time, so why not, at some point in our lives, devote even just the smallest amount doing something that helps to make a positive difference.