I think we had a thread about this going ages ago but I thought it would be good to hear from some of our newer members of the forum community.
I've been volunteering for a for a couple of organisations for a few years now. I wanted to share the benefits it has for me and my community in the hope that people have a think about how they can contribute to the world around them through volunteering. If you already volunteer I'd love to hear what your role is and what you like most about it.
One of my volunteer roles is as a mentor at an organisation that supports youth at risk. Most of the young people supported in this organisation are under child protection orders or in the justice system. My mentoring role is specifically with people who live in residential care because they cannot live with their families. The aim of the program is to increase confidence, social skills and self isteem.
Each week I see the participants grow, discover new things about themselves, challenge themselves and each other. I can't even put how great that is to see into words. Looking at the broader picture, not only is each individual effected but so are their communities now that they have more strong willed and empowered young people looking at making a difference in their lives.
I certaintly didn't apply for this role with myself in mind but after being involved for nearly a year I'm a seeing so much change and growth within myself, having the oppurtunity to use my experiences to help others who may been in similar situations to what I have in the past makes me feel really valued and empowered.
I also volunteer in a cafe/restaraunt that is inclusive to all because it is pay as you feel, which means that customers pay what they can afford for their food or what they feel it is worth. This brings a lot of people who may otherwise go without a decent meal. Customers come from all walks of life, young, old, new to Australia, in a crisis, there is so much diversity and I love being a part of the little community thats been formed. Each shift I hear a new story and get to share part of my own. Every year I volunteer there on Christmas Day. It is extremley rewarding.
So, do you volunteer? What do you do?
Is volunteering something you might like to do?
@j95 Great thread! I used to volunteer for a charity in my area which tutored primary and secondary students from disadvantaged backgrounds. It was really great cause all the tutors there were awesome and the kids were absolutely lovely and amazing - despite their backgrounds they were all so keen to learn and do well and just really eager to be there. As someone who loves working with kids, I enjoyed it so much and it was honestly one of the highlights of my week!
I've never done much volunteering other than like some really minor stuff years ago. Any time I think about it, I realise I have no useful skills that would be worthwhile to anyone.
How did you guys get into it?
It came about through connections, I went to this cafe regularly, saw what they did, thought it would be cool, so had a look around on their website and stuff, next thing you know I was volunteering there.
And with mentoring I really just saw the opportunity come up online as I had been involved with the organisation when I was a bit younger.
Sites like EthicalJobs have heaps of volunteer roles advertised
Love this thread @j95! I was actually thinking of starting something similar myself, haha
Do you mind if I ask the names of the organisation and cafe/restaurant for whihc you volunteer? They both sound like things I'd be interested in being part of.
I volunteered at a restaurant at university for 2 years and it really helped me feel more apart of the university, which was amazing as during my first year I'd felt really isolated. I currently volunteer for the Red Cross, which I started this year, and I've made a close friend through that, which was an unexpected and beautiful bonus. I've also found volunteering to have career benefits in addition to the warm, fuzzy feelings it gives. For example, I volunteer for a small publishing company and it's been a great way to learn about an industry I'd like to work in!
Hey @letitgo that sounds awesome!! What do you do at Red Cross?
One of my roles is at White Lion but I can't tell you where else I volunteer because guidelines, you might be able identify me if I tell you. It would be different if it were a big organisation or in multiple locations like Whitelion is but this one is pretty small and locally owned. I mean, if you google the description I posted you might find it... 😶 but I can't actually tell you.
@j95 Thanks! I'm part of their Telecross service. They have it in pretty much every suburb/area across Victoria, as far as I'm aware, and it involves making phone calls to the client list (usually elderly people or those who live alone and might not talk to many other people). I look forward to talking to the clients and it's interesting to get to know them all on different levels and find things you have in common, regardless of the age gap.
Ooops, sorry, I didn't even think that your answer might breach guidelines, my mistake!
Oooh, don't think I've heard of White Lion. I shall google and see what they're all about! What kinds of things do you do there?
Seen something fantastic on the forums?