Ever since I can remember, I have always loved helping other people. When I was at school I was a mentor to younger children and when I was at University I helped to set up the Volunteering Society.
Whilst at University, I gave up my Christmas to help at a homeless shelter and I enjoyed it so much I ended up regularly volunteering with the homeless! One February night I even slept in a cardboard box to raise money for the charity! I also volunteered at a special needs school and set other students up on placements where they felt their help would be beneficial, whether it was repainting foster homes, helping out at local schools or doing conservation work. This led me to be nominated for a HESVA (Higher Education Student Volunteer Award) and this is one of my proudest moments!
So one could say, I am very passionate about volunteering! When I used to talk to the members of the Volunteering Society, I used to tell them all the benefits that would come from Volunteering, such as:
- Volunteering allows social interaction and can build your confidence. You can make new friends and even new job contacts.
- Volunteering can help you develop skills and can make you more employable.
- Volunteering helps the community and makes you feel positive.
- Looks great on your CV!
With so many options to volunteer, I used to remind other students that the first place to look to volunteer is somewhere that you would enjoy. For example, if you love children, why not volunteer in local schools or if you are looking to work as a carer then why not gain some work experience by volunteering in a care home. This means you will be helping the community but it will be equally beneficial to you because it will be doing something you enjoy.
I have previously managed a charity shop and without the help of volunteers, I would have really struggled to run the shop on a day to day basis. Their help was invaluable to me and I am so happy that some of my volunteers went on to find full time jobs because of the skills and experience they learnt whilst at the shop.
Anybody who knows me will know how much I love animals and recently I have been volunteering at the local dog’s shelter. I have been lucky enough to be able to walk lots of lovely dogs and whilst this is helping the shelter and the dogs by giving them a daily walk it is also great for me too. I am in no position to have a dog of my own, so this way I get lots of cuddles and affection from the rescue dogs. I always leave feeling like I have helped to improve the doggie’s day 😀
So, if you have any free time, why not consider Volunteering. Write a list of your hobbies and try to find something that would help others and give you lots of fun too 😀