I was initially hired onto Student Unity Project (“SUP”) team — a registered charity devoted to changing school environments and off-setting the damage that can be caused by exclusion and hostility when you walk the halls of your school alone — before the organization became a registered charity. After my summer student contract ended the first summer I was with them, I decided to stay on as a volunteer not only because of how important the charity was to me, but also the people who run it. SUP hires and trains high school students to mentor, support and be a friend, to other high school students who are being bullied. As someone who had been bullied in elementary school (you can read about that on the SUP blog by clicking here), I understand the importance of preventing this from happening, or at least alleviating the burden of being bullied wherever possible. I’ve finally found my permanent volunteer position of choice and I could not be any happier than I am with SUP.
That being said, I volunteered in quite a few positions from a very young age, from helping teachers with their marking throughout the vast majority of elementary school; to shelving and sorting books at the community library; to a local reading buddy programme with young children; to note-taking for students with disabilities at my university; and finally at Student Unity project.
So…what have I gained from all of this experience in volunteering?
- Positive social interactions
- Leadership skills
- The ability to learn and further develop skills in business, marketing, and social media
- How to host fundraisers
- How to willingly give my time selflessly
- Time management
- How to be a better, more engaged person in my community
- The most noticeable difference I’ve found in myself is my ability to speak in front of large audiences and articulating what I want to get across without the crippling stage fright I used to suffer
Really, you have nothing to lose in volunteering your time. It does not have to be a full-time commitment, or even something you need to do every single week. Find a cause that you are passionate about and help your community. You won’t regret it.
Do you volunteer? If so, where? Let me know in the comments how it’s changed your life for the better!