I’ve done a lot of volunteering in my life (no, I’m not boasting!) in various fields such as animal welfare, teaching English, and working with seniors. Being a volunteer is very rewarding, and is something I would recommend to anyone who has time. There are lots of benefits to being a volunteer, and here are just a few of them.
Photo Credit: clara_uh
If you want to have a career in a particular field, related voluntary work will often help. With the current difficulties in finding a job, anything that will give you an edge is a good idea. Being a volunteer will also give you some idea of what a job is really like and whether you will enjoy it.
I am definitely speaking from experience here. In my work as a kitty foster mum, I can spend months looking after a cat. The reward is seeing them find a great permanent home, which makes all the effort worthwhile.
Volunteering in a local group enables you to do something for your local community and to feel part of it. This is especially beneficial when you move to a new town and don’t know anyone. I also wanted to give something back to the country that I have made my home.
In an ideal world, everyone’s needs would be met by family and social services. Sadly, resources are often stretched, and many elderly people have no relatives living nearby. Volunteers can make such a difference with simple things such as doing shopping or dropping in for a chat.
If you’re passionate about politics, or dotty about dogs, by volunteering you can meet people who share your interests. This is a great way of making new friends and connecting with groups of people.
You can mentor a teenager from a deprived background, rescue animals from cruelty, or campaign for a change in the law. Whatever you do, it can really make a difference. Maybe we can’t change the world, but we can do something, right?
Whether you have a lot of time or just a little, whatever your commitments or abilities, there is a volunteer role for everyone. If you can’t commit to regular sessions, then look for something that needs an occasional helping hand, say updating a website or covering during vacations. I know an older lady whose health means she cannot do anything involving physical effort, so she reads to people with poor vision.
Being a volunteer is good for your health! There is medical evidence to show that it boosts your immune system and helps you feel well. You can also have a lot of fun …
If you have some free time, I hope that I have encouraged you to look into volunteering. It’s a really worthwhile activity, and everyone can help in some way. So why not find the perfect role for you? Or do you already enjoy the benefits of volunteering?
Top Photo Credit: Jhuskin
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