Why Volunteer?

Posted: July 3, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

Why Volunteer?

At one time or another we’ve all had a friend, family member or teacher tell us to volunteer. Beyond the obvious altruistic reasons, we can all benefit from a little volunteer work. Here’s why:

1. Improve your work skills

In an economy like this, some of us may be out of work. Others may fear job loss. Young people like me may have trouble finding paying work at all. Unfortunately, when you are out of the working world, job competition is tough. Volunteering can be the perfect way to keep up those working skills, or learn new ones.  For those who lack experience, volunteer work is an easy way to gain it.

2. Take a hobby to the next level

Do you crave creative coding? Do you garden so much that there is no longer room in backyard? Do you write so much that blank word documents make you giddy? How about cooking, painting, building, and mentoring? Volunteer organizations are aching for people with hobbies like these.  Build and paint with Habitat for Humanity. Cook and serve with a soup kitchen.  Mentor with Big Brother/Big Sister.  Those with green thumbs may be able to help Mercyworks and Eden Urban Farms. As a busy student, I often put my hobbies (like writing) off to finish homework and projects. Volunteering gives me the push to explore my writing.

3. The perks of no pay

Last spring I volunteered as ball person for the Sarasota Tennis Open. After a day of training, I was given the best seats on the court—literally! HD TVs may make you feel like you are part of the action, but being a ball person actually puts you in the middle of it. After a day of work with the Plymouth Rotary Chicken Barbeque, I’d gobble up my hot, moist, (and free) chicken dinner. Other organizations give you the chance to mingle with important people, eat free meals, or gain special access to events. Because you aren’t getting paid, the organization will try their best to make your volunteer experience extra pleasant.

4. Great People

Those who run volunteer organizations are gracious, thankful for any help they can get. As a result, they tend to be tolerant, friendly people—the kind anyone would want as friends. You’ll also meet other volunteers, who tend to be just as friendly. Who wouldn’t want to know the type of person who gives up their weekends for a good cause? Volunteering can be a great opportunity to make friends, network, or even find love

5. Put a mark on your community

I realize this reason is probably one you have heard before. However, it’s probably more important than you realize. Volunteering creates a sense of community. A community that volunteers together is more invested in its success;, treats its neighbors as friends, not threat;, and therefore is a more pleasant, safer community. The urbanist Jane Jacobs explains the idea in “The Uses of Sidewalks.” Don’t you want be part of a better community?

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