Hi every lovely reader of mine!
This post is all about volunteering, my experience of doing it and why I think everyone should do it at least once in their life. The post was meant to go up yesterday to celebrate national volunteering week which was the 1-7th of June but it a bit late due to my rescheduling of post which you can find out more about here im going to start well at the very beginning (excuse the pun) and the beginning is why I wanted to start volunteering?
I’m not going to be a cliche and say it’s because i wanted to help people it wasn’t, now it is desire of mine to help people but when I started volunteering at the age of 15 it wasn’t a big part of my reasoning for wanting to volunteer. I chose to volunteer because I was a teen with social anxiety who felt alone and had no purpose because she couldn’t go out with all her school mates, due to her social anxiety I was isolated and has a result of this felt lonely affecting my self-worth. I just wanted to get out the house and contribute something to society after months of me trying to find a place and getting rejected my mum went into Oxfam and quite bluntly said my daughters 15 in a wheelchair, she wants some independence for herself and wants to volunteer and they accepted her offer.
I was happy and nervous, I still remember my first day all these years later! I went into the shop which was a book shop to be greeted by 3 volunteers who were of the older generation, I was so nervous I felt about 5 years old not 15. I was first shown how to label the books it was a small shop in my town so they manually wrote in the codes and prices which i think is really cute. I used to check i’d wrote the codes in right about 3 times I had no faith in myself but over time I got more confident and did that with ease, I got more comfortable with working with the other volunteers I talked philosophy with the gentleman worker and the women were always trying to get the gossip on my love life which of course there was none. They may have been in their sixty’s and seventies but for the first time i felt a part of something I invited to dinners out even if i was known as young Courtney.
When i was 17 I got moved onto the tills this was a big step for me as I had to interact with the general public something if i’m honest i never got comfortable with, I got better but the anxiety never truly went away. However being on the tills gave me even more practice in social interactions within society which is what i needed.
Overall the confidence it gave me in my 4 years working there was invaluable and it gave me an experience that I loved and wouldn’t have had if i hadn’t volunteered.
So that’s my experience but here’s why I think everyone should have the experience of volunteering:
- Skills gained: can be personal progression skills but they can also be work skills that are transferable to a variety of work places which is needed these days when every employer wants experience.
- To make a contribution to society and help others: I fully accept that some people cannot work due to illness or disability but volunteering roles are so varied there is something everyone can do. I had doubts I could do it being a wheelchair user with epilepsy but they made adaptions for me such putting the books I needed to work with on a stool so i could reach them, putting me in charge of stocking shelf’s that were only in my reach and moving the till forward for me so i could get round with my wheelchair. Don’t be put off and remember charity’s need help so they will probably be more than happy to make adaptions for you.
- You can do something your passionate about and enjoy: because volunteering is so varied there are so many causes you can work for, it doesn’t have to be a charity it can be in a local school or family center if your passionate about education. I even knew someone who was passionate about animal care so volunteered at a zoo there really is something for everyone.
- Its easy to find an opportunity: the website do-it.org has a large data base of volunteering opportunities around the UK that can be tailored to your interests and what roles you would like to do.
- As always thank you for reading. I’d love to hear in the comments if you have ever volunteered or your thoughts about doing it in the future