I started my volunteering at Redcar & Cleveland Mind in the Media Group.
Volunteering for a charity is extremely rewarding, as it makes you feel you are giving back something that will help others. I was always taught, it is better to give than receive and although I didn’t fully understand this concept when I was a child; I certainly do now.
Giving something of yourself to others is in my opinion one of the greatest feelings you can have. Knowing that you’re helping others, who are in a difficult place at present; just seeing that person get better is reward enough. Also, you know if ever you need help it’s only a phone call away. Often people who have been helped through a difficult time will volunteer once they are themselves again, as a way of thanking and giving back.
If you have been through a difficult time in your life, you do have a much deeper understanding of what a lonely place it can be and how you can pretend to friends and family that you are okay. However if these negative feelings continue you know you need help and needing the courage to ask for it is often the hardest thing to do.
Anyone can apply to volunteer, you can do it for a short time or enjoy it so much that you continue helping into old age. Any help is better than none. Furthermore, it will be one of the most gratifying experiences of your life.
Like Lynne, I am a volunteer at R & C Mind’s Media Group. I agree wholeheartedly with what she says about volunteering being a fantastic way of giving back to the community. However, I’d like to take it further by discussing the practical benefits of volunteering and what else you can gain by helping out.
Firstly, there’s the chance to do things you normally wouldn’t consider or even have the opportunity to try. In my time volunteering for numerous organisations, I’ve worked as a political administrator; a radio presenter and writer; a museum guide and live interpreter; and also assisted in building and creating content for several websites.
This colourful history has given me the opportunity to meet some fantastically dedicated and fun people, but more importantly has allowed me to develop whole new skill sets and further refine skills I already possessed. Interpersonal skills, written and verbal communication, even stuff that can be viewed as a little more esoteric like website design… all of these are valuable and desirable skills to potential employers.
That brings us rather neatly onto my second point: if you’re looking for work, as so many people are these days, volunteering looks great on your CV. Employers want to see that you’ve been out in the world doing things, not slobbing away on the sofa watching Jeremy Kyle. Volunteering shows potential employers that you’re a committed person who sees things through to the finish and is always looking for new challenges. And that, plus all the new skills you’ll be picking up along the way, puts you ahead in the job hunting game.
Finally, volunteering lets you get out and meet people you might not ordinarily get the chance to. Mixing with people from a wide range of backgrounds and age groups gives you a better-rounded view of the world and how different people see it. Even if you may end up disagreeing with what certain people may have to say, you can still take something away and learn from the experience.