When I was in high school you had to do 40 hours of volunteer work in order to graduate.
At the time it seemed to me like having to work without a paycheck. And who wants to work for nothing? I managed to get away with claiming volunteer hours by babysitting my nieces for free, even though in return my sisters would babysit my daughter for free (I was a teen mom).
For the first time in my life, I actually volunteered yesterday!
For two hours I stood under a tent, handed out brochures and encouraged children to stop in and colour. Earlier this summer I decided to volunteer at my local library since I wasn’t able to find a job. I figured I might as well get out of house once in a while and interact with people. Plus, I’ve been forcing myself out of my comfort zone and since I’m super shy and introverted what better way to do that than to volunteer at special events?
At first I wasn’t sure what it would be like. Would the other volunteers be nice? Would the day drag on, boring and miserable? Would I enjoy myself at all? Obviously I’m quite the pessimist.
I arrived ten minutes early and was signed in. Afterwards I was led outside to where the library’s tent was set up at the A Day & A Night event. Immediately the other volunteers introduced themselves and they explained what to do; hand out brochures, help kids colour and basically just hang out. Simple, right?
There was also a graphic artist at our booth hanging out, drawing and explaining graphic art while promoting the different programs at the library. He was super talented and super friendly. I’m glad I got to meet him and discuss movies and books, along with our brilliant volunteer leader.
Even though we didn’t get many kids stopping in, I enjoyed helping out the ones who did. Two hours flew by and before I knew it we were already taking down our tables and putting the tent away.
I survived my first day as a volunteer, and I actually really enjoyed it!
Now I look at volunteering as a free education, a great way to meet new people, network and so much more.
Why you should volunteer:
- While volunteering you will be trained for new things. You will get to build new skills and work on existing ones.
- Volunteering can get you the experience you need in order to get a job you really want.
- Not to mention, you will build a network of employment contacts and work references.
- Volunteering can be a lot of fun. You get to meet new people, make new friends and gain new experiences. It's also a lot more laid back than an actual job.
- Volunteering also sends out a positive message to any children that are in your life.
- You also get a sense of community by getting out there and interacting with people who live in your city.
- And you’re introduced to all sorts of amazing events and programs you may have never heard about before and can now enjoy.
- Plus, it gives you a really great feeling inside. Offering your time to help other people without expecting anything in return can make you feel super good about yourself and help build your self-esteem.
I can’t wait to volunteer again with Cambridge Libraries!
What sort of volunteer work have you done? What inspired you to volunteer?