Here is an article I wrote for the company, Globe Of Love, focusing on the benefits and reasoning behind why I volunteer. This company is an online magazine that provides inspiration and positive messages around the globe for everyone.
Volunteering is when a person works for an organization for free, donating their spare time and themselves to the organization or cause with no other incentive in mind, solely the action of charity. I began volunteering when I was 16 years old. Why? Because I recognised that I am incredibly lucky to be so healthy and happy and I wanted to dedicate my spare time to someone who needed it more. I wanted to make a difference to people and the community. My first step was fundraising for an organisation called “The Stroke Association”, to raise awareness and funds for the charity. I started with the occasional bake sale, then I ended up abseiling off Twickenham Stadium and running 5k for the charity pretty soon after.
Volunteering for an organisation who I know appreciated every small step I took, really made me feel good. Not only because I was enjoying doing it, but I knew the work I was doing, was really making an impact. That my role as a volunteer, although small, helped lay foundations in the work that the company did and although young, I was spreading the message of this organization to other young people who may not have heard it before.
This then led me to volunteer at university where there was a vast amount of opportunities to do so with university societies and arts and cultural organizations. Although swamped with coursework deadlines, a part time job, society socials and a city to conquer, I still felt that I needed to give something back to this new community that I was a part of, and help others who might not even have the opportunity to go to university. I became a team member for a Beer Festival Event where all proceeds went to various charities based in the city I was in, which meant I was able to spend quality time away from university and plan something for a purpose that would help benefit others. I volunteered with drama groups and with a society who helped vulnerable women and the homeless. Although at times I was tired and stressed and felt like not turning up, I thought about the people I was on my way to see who didn’t have that choice and were relying on me to be there for their support and a warm meal. Working with these groups, I met people from a variety of different backgrounds, volunteers and those we were helping, and it gave me a perspective on my own life. I heard horrific stories of the situations that some of the people were in, how and why they escaped and what their main concerns in life were, which made me realise that anyone can fall into a similar situation.
I then looked to volunteer abroad and did so in Vietnam building houses for a local family in My Tho, a small fishing village. The days were intense and laborious, ploughing mud, mixing cement and chipping tiles. However, the limited equipment (there is no such luxury as a cement mixer) made me appreciate the hard work the labourers put up with on a daily basis. If they went to the UK and saw how British builders worked they would be shocked! We were watched, laughed at and soon played with by the local children, including the children whose house we were building for. All of the sweat, blood and tears were worth it for the happiness and joy the family had when they saw we were there to help them. It was priceless. Their reaction is much more satisfactory than any sort of shopping spree, movie marathon or other activity that I may have been doing with my time instead.
I volunteer because I want to make a difference and I enjoy doing so. We need more people in the world to make a change and help too. Just think: if everyone in the UK (64 million of us according to Google) donated two hours of their time a week or even a month, to volunteer in their local community or an organization, what could we achieve?