Learning to volunteer is one of those things that i will forever be grateful for. my parents taught me the importance of volunteering at a very young age and i continue it in my EVERYDAY life.
Growing up in a household with two pastors for parents, I suppose it was inevitable that I would learn to volunteer. Bible school, sunday school, Relay For Life, church caroling, and many more activities were added to my routine before I hit the double digits. At first, it was a love-hate relationship; I was young and I wanted to hang out with my friends rather than be “stuck” with my church family all the time. As I grew older, I came to the realization that my relationship with volunteering was going to be long-term.
I took almost every chance I could during high school and college to volunteer; when I wasn’t studying, playing sports, or working. During this time is when I started my own Relay For Life team at my hometown church. After college, I continued my team when I moved back home and I still run it today. It is a stressful struggle sometimes but I wouldn’t change a thing.
Here is what I have learned.
The friends and connections that I have made while volunteering are irreplaceable. You meet people from every aspect of life and more than likely, you would have never met those friends without that experience. You learn to trust and depend on people you may have met a two weeks ago, even though you may only see them once or twice a month.
The simple fact that other people, probably strangers, are relying on you and what you do can have a large impact on your life. If you don’t show up to do your duty because you felt like sleeping in, the task may not get done and the sad reality is that someone might not get a hot meal, clothes on their back, or a ride to treatment because you decided to flake out. When you start a volunteer position, you must learn to finish your job.
When you volunteer, chances are you will be surrounded with the emotions of many others. You learn to understand how others are feeling, become sensitive of others, and how to share feelings & experiences. The earlier you learn this, the easier life will be.
4) Adapt to Change Quickly
Often, your duties will change daily while volunteering and you have to learn to roll with the punches. Along with this, you will take on a lot of different roles in a short period of time and learn new skills that will help you greatly in life.
Working an eight hour shift, cooking dinner, cleaning the house, volunteering, and trying to fit in a hobby can make for a long day. As a volunteer, you quickly learn how to create a balance between your work life, home life, and volunteer duties. Without this balance, you can become overwhelmed and easily stressed out.
These are only a few of the of the infinite lessons I have learned from volunteering. I can’t stress enough the importance of learning how to volunteer and teaching it to others.