Volunteering gives us an opportunity to gain in ways that are not financial. Not only does it give us chance to make the world a better place, it also allows us to develop valuable skills for work and life.
Volunteering is a valuable way for us to contribute to society. Whether you are a volunteer in a local NGO, a global organisation, a school, an animal shelter or just among friends trying to improve something in your community, the purpose is the same – to improve the conditions and wellbeing of the society and environment you are living in.
Volunteering is also an important way for young women to develop hard and soft skills, such as communication and team-work. These skills make them attractive to employers and better able to progress in their work, whether they are still studying or in a paid job. However, how much we through volunteering depends on our motivation and the environment in which the work is done. Growth and development is most effective when we have the opportunity to reflect on our volunteering experience.
As young women what can we gain from volunteering?
Volunteering gives us an opportunity to gain in ways that are not financial – above all, it is an opportunity to make the world a better place. When a young woman commits and takes volunteering seriously, she gets more from her experience, not only in terms of the satisfaction it brings, but also in mirroring the workplace, allowing her to gain skills for her professional life.
Volunteering encourages us to understand our abilities and talents. Many people decide to change their career direction or discover new passions through volunteering, as they find the courage to manage their own projects. This can be life-changing. There are also future work opportunities related to volunteering fields, such as social work, non-formal education, mentoring, project coordination, youth work etc.
Volunteering is an opportunity to create inclusion, integration and solidarity within society. In our normal lives, we often get to know only people like us. We meet them at school, through family, at work or through our hobbies. We often don’t meet people from social, cultural or educational backgrounds that are different from ours. Through volunteering we can meet others with different lives and experiences. If we are open to learning from them and treating them as equals, this can be very enriching.
Volunteering can also give us the chance to learn about the challenges our communities face and finding sustainable solutions to these issues. No matter what your background is, using your skills and learning new ones can contribute to your community. It is your chance to become a part of a community that is having real impact. Above all, volunteering is an opportunity to grow.
Why is it important to reflect on our volunteering experiences?
Reflecting on what we do as volunteers is an essential part of doing anything well. It helps us to understand why we do something and what we learn from it. Reflection also allows us to consider how we can take further steps as we gain more influence, personally and professionally, to address the issues that we have identified. More immediately, it can give us the tools to engage our peers in active citizenship and improve our community.
Reflecting on our voluntary work and our impact empowers us to think about the skills we have gained in the process. Usually, reflection requires identifying the main skills, competencies, achievements and learning outcomes. Do not be shy to ask for feedback and always ask questions if you have any. You are there to help the organisation but also to learn and grow as a person.
Volunteering is a key part of our project Red:GLOW. Through the project, we are developing opportunities for young women to volunteer, gain skills and develop their active citizenship.
Author: Anjana Anihan, Red:GLOW volunteer.