Volunteering is a great way to get involved in your local community and also to grow as an individual. Lots of people have a negative attitude towards volunteering since it’s unpaid work but there’s actually so much you can gain and learn from volunteering!
Over the past couple of years I have spent a lot of time volunteering- whether this be one day events or long term commitments. The following are ways I have benefited from my volunteer work:
1. Grow in confidence
Volunteering pushes you to talk and interact with new people in different settings and therefore helps increase your confidence.
2. Meet people of different ages and backgrounds
Volunteering can bring you into contact with people you may never have had the opportunity to build relationships with beforehand.
For example I volunteered in an elderly care home and was able to make friends with lots of the residents and learn about their lives.
3. Make a difference in your community
Some people think that volunteering is pointless because it doesn’t actually have an impact – but this is far from the case. Organisations really value the help you bring and are very grateful even if you only volunteer for a couple of hours.
I volunteer with a group of young teenagers and even though I only meet with them for a couple of hours once a week, I have been able to form meaningful relationships and influence lives in a positive way.
4. Gain experience
Doing volunteer work can help you advance your career /learn more about what you want to do in life. For example, since I want to study medicine I naturally chose to volunteer in a care home and was able to learn more about work in a caring role.
Volunteering can also help you learn more about your interests and what type of work suits you.
5. Use your skills to benefit others
Whether it be leadership or communication, everyone has different skills and it’s so fulfilling to actually use these skills and talents for the good of others. Seeing how I can personally make a difference has increased my confidence in my own abilities and also helped me to appreciate my strengths.
It’s easy to get involved in volunteer work; you can ask a friend if they know of any projects which need a helping hand or even have a quick search online. Once you start to look, you’ll be surprised at how many ways there are to support your community!