Happy International Volunteer Day: Why...

Happy International Volunteer Day: Why Lending a Hand Is Important

by Rochelle C. Pangilinan
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

You’ve probably come across the inspirational quote “Be the change you wish to see in the world” in social media countless times. These famous words are widely attributed to Mahatma Gandhi though it’s said that it’s actually not. However, no matter who said it, the message is clear: you have the power to change the world, and it’s always best to start with yourself.

The message is aligned with the benefits of volunteering. If you believe strongly in a cause, you can’t sit idly by and watch others promote that cause. What you can do is join organizations or groups of like-minded individuals and make an effort to bring awareness to the cause.

December 5 is International Volunteer Day. The United Nations Volunteers founded International Volunteer Day in 1985 to celebrate the instruments for social change around the globe.

The first occurrence of volunteering dates back to medieval Europe, where religion and care for the sick went hand-in-hand. During this period, especially in England, plague was prevalent, and hundreds of hospitals run by churches received an influx of patients. Organized volunteering as we know it today began to take off in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, with groups like Red Cross, Lions Club, Rotary Club, and the Y.M.C.A. leading the way. They started collecting donations, mobilizing volunteers, and doing charity work and community service.

Today, volunteering is more important than ever. If you’re thinking of giving back to the community, read below for the benefits you can expect to reap.

Volunteering is a learning opportunity.

When you give back, you become more receptive to the world around you and what’s happening. Therefore, you become more open to things that are new to you or that you’re not wholly familiar with. And even if you volunteer for an organization dedicated to a mission that’s close to your heart, you still get to learn from the team leaders or your fellow volunteers.

Volunteering gives you purpose.

Working to receive a pay cheque every two weeks to get you the basic needs is OK. However, more often than not, it’s not fulfilling. When you do volunteer work like helping out in a community kitchen to feed the needy, you feel you’re helping out individuals directly and you’re doing something more meaningful than crunching numbers or meeting deadlines.

Volunteering makes good use of free time.

Binging on your fave TV shows on one weekend is a great activity to give yourself a break after working hard for a week. However, if this is something you find yourself doing every weekend, you might as well plant yourself on your couch. It’s OK to embrace a form of entertainment, but if you find yourself not doing anything else, it’s great to give volunteering a chance where your free time will definitely be well-spent.

Volunteering gives you an opportunity to socialize.

Even when you work full-time or are self-employed, there’s not a lot of opportunity to socialize because most everyone seems to be pre-occupied with getting their tasks done. With volunteering, you get to work outside of your normal work hours and though you still have tasks to do, you have more flexibility to chat with fellow volunteer. What’s even better is that you know they already believe in the same causes as you do and it’s easier to share volunteer experiences.

Volunteering gives your resume that much-needed extra.

Impressive education and extensive work experience are definitely qualities that get you attention from hiring managers. However, in some cases or depending on the industry that you are targeting to get into, these are not enough to separate you from the rest, since most would probably have the same degree from a prestigious university or the same stint at a world-class company. In this regard, volunteer experience can truly set you apart from the rest.






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