I’ve never been a volunteer until now. Firstly because I didn’t have the opportunity to take part in programs which (also) involve volunteer work and secondly because I tought volunteering is a very responsible task, which requires extra preparation and competency. There were times when I wilingly wanted to help somebody, however I didn’t have the financial background to offer a donation. I tought in these cases voluntary work would be an alternative to offer help.
However in the last months I changed my opinion about volunteering, thanks to a round table discussion organised within the SOCAP project. During this event I met youth who already undertook voluntary work in the past. They shared their experiences and also information about the activities they participated in.
During the round table we also discussed about the benefits of being a volunteer. Most of the youth who already participated in voluntary work said they did it because:
- They had the opportunity to meet new people and to build contacts which can be useful in the future;
- They experimented new things, discovered the way to achieve their own goals and their strenghts;
- They learnt how to behave responsively;
- They were satisfied for being able to help others;
- Sometimes voluntary work counted in universities or was considered an advantage on the market of employment;
The round table discussion also offered us information about the process of becoming volunteers. The experimented volunteers recommended us to decide from the very beginning about what we would like to do. They adviced us to choose activities which we would do with pleasure in our free time as well.
The first thing I learned about volunteering is that besided the civic benefits it also contributes to personal development. Volunteers can try out new work areas, can acquisit new knowledge and strengthen their existing competences. The feedback they receive during volunteering positively influences personality and character. The participants also stated, that it was a great experience to work in teams and that they had the opportunity to enlarge their network.
The round table moderator also informed us about the activities from our community in which we can get involved as volunteers. I realised, that if we want to be volunteers and activily involve in the communities life there are many opportunities from which we can choose.
So the second thing that I have learned is that I can volunteer in whatever I am good at. After this event I have a strong desire to become a volunteer in a program designed for the protection of animals. I love dogs since I was a child and since I am the happy owner of a dog I also understand, that taking care of an animal is a great responsability. So because I like to take care of animals I think becoming a volunteer in this field would make our community better.
Article created by Bajko Beata, SOCAP participant
25th of August 2015