Why is volunteering important?
When you look at the reasons why volunteering is important, it’s not only about the impacts we can make in the lives of those less fortunate but the role it can play in making us more tolerant individuals and giving towards the global community. Each of us should be willing to offer our own time and expect nothing in return. But the truth is that volunteering will bring a world of rewards you might never have expected. So exactly why is volunteering important?
The benefits of volunteering are well documented, from the positive impacts on affected communities to the advantages it brings to participating individuals. Which is why some schools and colleges now make volunteering a compulsory requirement for their students. Many developing countries lack the money and resources to support their populations, while people within your own backyard may be going through hardship on a daily basis.
Assist those who are less fortunate
Unfortunately, not everyone is born into a life of opportunity and sometimes just the country you grow up in will dictate a life of hardship and poverty. Those of us that do live in countries where housing, education, safety and health care are basic and upheld rights have a responsibility to assist those that struggle for these things on a daily basis.
Chances are you’ve completed or are in the process of finishing your high school education or perhaps you’re embarking on your college degree. You’ve probably got food on the table and a roof over your head, as well as a future ahead of you that is filled with possibilities. For others at the same age in different corners of the world, these things are just a dream and it’s a hand-to-mouth existence just to survive.
You might think that this is an issue for their government to solve. But for some communities around the world, they aren’t even recognized by a government or are persecuted to the point that they have to flee. In other countries, corruption is so rife that little trickles down to those at the bottom and without international aid and the work of volunteers, hundreds upon thousands would go without.
When questioning your own thoughts about why is volunteering important, assisting those who are less fortunate than yourself should be the most compelling reason to take the plunge. That’s not to say you have to jet off across the world to make a difference. You can also look at communities in your own backyard who are working to improve the situation for those in need.
Expect nothing in return
We grow up expecting that our good behavior or actions will always bring us rewards in return. But what about doing good deeds and extending a helping hand to others just because you should? Volunteering can bring a whole host of benefits to participants when it comes to boosting their job prospects or enhancing their self-confidence and skills, but it should be approached with an openness that asks for nothing in return.
Since the advent of social media, it seems that every good deed is advertised online for “likes” and “shares”. While this can be great to promote a particular organization that is doing amazing things to enhance the lives of others, it shouldn’t be used for your own self-indulgence. Choose to volunteer and do good deeds for the benefits you can bring to others, rather than what you can do for your own status.
Enrich your life
That being said, volunteering can enrich your own life in so many ways without that being your intention. It will offer new life experiences and insights into social and developmental issues, as well as the inner workings of non-governmental and community organizations. It might give you the opportunity to travel abroad and experience diverse cultures, assisting local communities or environmental projects while seeing the world at the same time.
Volunteering has also proven to help boost the self-confidence of individuals, getting them out of their comfort zone and dealing with real-world problems. Most volunteer organizations encourage their participants to take initiative and leadership roles within an environment that is supportive and inclusive.
Studies also indicate that the social interaction of volunteering can help to combat mental health issues, anxiety and depression. In a world that is becoming more individualistic, our sense of community is being lost and it’s through volunteering that many find the support they need. You’ll probably discover a sense of personal achievement and satisfaction while cultivating enriching friendships at the same time.
Volunteering is a great way to network and meet other like-minded individuals, creating friendships that can last a lifetime. Through the work and dedication of others, you might be inspired to start your own grassroots project to assist others or alter the career path you had originally set forth for yourself.
It will challenge some of your previously held beliefs and encourage you to be a more tolerant individual, respectful of differences in religion and culture. Perhaps it will alter your perspective on your own life and what’s really important to you in the big scheme of things. Through connections with those outside of your friendship circle and community, you’ll meet people from all walks of life who will each impact your life in different ways.
Boost your career options
In an increasingly competitive world, with graduates clambering for much sought-after jobs, experience volunteering can suddenly become incredibly important! It shows prospective employers that you can take initiative and are willing to give your own time to better the world while having gained vital skills that could be applied to your new role.
Volunteering is a great way to get a foot in the door in the workforce, with connections you make along the way maybe even leading to your dream career. Through the experiences you have while volunteering, you may get a better idea of the career path you have chosen and whether or not it’s right for you, saving yourself a lot of backtracking in the future.