A lot of people might think volunteering is all about the warm and fuzzy feeling you get after helping someone; well, at least that is the thought I think people used to have. Maybe some still think that way, who knows. But even so, that is far from the only benefit one can get. It is not just about soup kitchens, hospitals and doctors without borders, not that there is anything wrong with those things….. there is just quite a bit more to it. Charity work requires a wide variety of people, doing a number of different things… all for the better. And the benefits, they can be as endless as the volunteer jobs themselves.
From tabling to fundraising to helping plan for events, volunteering teaches you knew skills. When you get involved in charity work, a lot of the time you will face challenges just as you would in a new job. And through overcoming these challenges you learn and start to master completely new skills.
Volunteering can help fill in those gaps on your resume when it comes to finding a job. Finding working isn’t an easy task and a potential employer can relate empty spaces in time to you sitting on your butt doing nothing; this proves you have not been doing that.
Volunteering can help you stay active. Weather it is physical or mental exercise, it can keep you going because you are with others and in a positive atmosphere….. which can accomplish this all its own. You really can feed off of that energy vibe.
Volunteering can help you see outside of yourself, to see the world and other people from a whole new perspective. It really can be therapeutic in creating your own personal value. I myself volunteer outside of my job and I truly believe it has helped me grow and, in many ways, heal.
You are put into certain situations that can help improve on your social skills and in turn this creates more confidence in who you are and what you have to offer.
I think quite a few individuals out there (including myself) can attest to the fact that this can lead to work. Volunteering with the right organization can also help you decide on what is and is not a good career choice for yourself.
A prerequisite for almost every job out there is relevant experience and volunteering can help you with that; from administrative work to blog post writing for those budding journalists out there.
In today’s crazy world we can get bogged down with work and other things that may get our minds in the dumps. We can become burnt out or a little lost. Volunteering can help you re-evaluate life and teach, or re-teach, you what really matters.
Volunteering can help you make new friends. While this may be a little obvious, the part that may be surprising to you is that you are probably meeting some really genuine and potential long term friends with similar interest and passions.
Even if those you meet don’t all become “friends”, you are expanding your network by making acquaintance’s and creating contacts. It can be a small world and you never know who you might meet and where that will lead or what door it will open.
By Mark Koning
Mark is the Communications & Administration Coordinator with the AIDS Committee of York Region. Mark is also an Author and Blogger of Challenging Barriers and The BIST Blog. (Brain Injury Society of Toronto)