When, Why, and How to Volunteer
When you look at the multiple reasons why volunteerism is important, it is not only about the impacts we can make in the lives of others but also the role it can play in making us more tolerant, empathetic, and experienced individuals as well as giving towards the global community. We believe that we each have a civic duty to give back but the truth is that volunteering will bring a world of rewards you might never have expected.
First, volunteering is good for your health. Studies show that when you focus on an issue outside of yourself, your stress levels decrease and your immune system strengthens because you interrupt the tension-producing patterns and replace it with positive emotions which also, in turn, increases your confidence.
Second, volunteering is a huge career and academic booster. Recruiters for employment and universities rank volunteer participation higher than personal presentation, political affiliation, and even spelling and grammar. This is because when you volunteer you are forced to expand your soft-skills; reach outside of your comfort zone, experience other cultures and regions, and develop stronger problem-solving skills. You'll gain real-world, hands-on experience which is an invaluable asset.
Lastly, you realize that you can make a difference whether it's volunteering at home and/or abroad. Volunteering gives you the chance to form an idea of the kind of community and world you want to live in. It gives you the opportunity to be a part of something bigger than yourself and use your civic responsibility for the greater good. volunteering gives you an opportunity for an outlet to tackle the problems of the world with your own hands and play an active part in the solution.
Where and how you volunteer should begin where your passions lie. Allow your actions to be led from a place of passionate and healthy intention. Your actions, no matter the size, will have an impact on someone's life. You also don't have to pick just one way to give back and it doesn't have to be abroad. You can volunteer at your local animal shelter, youth group, or homeless shelter and travel abroad as well if that calls to you. As long as you follow your heart there are no limitations.
"The power of human empathy, leading to collective action, saves lives and frees prisoners. Ordinary people, whose personal well-being and security are assured, join together in huge numbers to save people they do not know, and will never meet...unlike any other on this planet, humans can learn and understand, without having experiences. They can think themselves into other peoples places...We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already; we have the power to imagine better"
-J.K. Rowling; author and founder of the Children's Charity, Lumos.