Today is International volunteer day and in honour of this, I wanted to share a part of my life, I rarely open up about on the internet. Ever since I was a teenager, I have volunteered for my local community, local council and The UK Youth Parliament. Now I volunteer in the digital space as a writer or a social media specialist. I learnt a lot as a volunteer and those experiences really shaped the person I am today. Here are five ways volunteering changed my life.
Meet new people
And I do not just mean meeting Sarah from down the road who also happens to be volunteering that day. Volunteering allowed me to become friends with people half way across the world, people from all backgrounds and sexual orientations. Meeting this diverse range of people at a young age is something I am incredibly thankful for. It allowed me to be more open minded and made me more of a humanist.
Learning new skills
A key part of volunteering is being able to learn skills. Through volunteering, I learned customer service skills, how to get a hashtag trending, charing meetings, holding workshops, organising conference. All of these skills are transferable and I use them to this day. They have become embedded within me.
Travel to places I wouldn’t have been able too otherwise
My travelling experience is limited but it was even more limited before I started volunteering. Volunteering lead me to explore other places across the UK and even my own home town. My first visit to London was through volunteering which makes me cry as I fell in love with the city and one of the reasons I knew I wanted to live here.
The feeling you’re making a difference
Knowing your time is helping those around you be in event organisers, the children you’re looking after is really rewarding and leaves you feeling like you have a purpose.
Understanding others point of view
I ended up meeting a lot of like minded people which allowed me to feel less weird and out of place during a time in my life when I did feel like a bit of an oddball. I also met some lovely people who didn’t have the same opinions as me. We were able to remain friends, respect each other while discussing our different points of view which is something I definitely practice today and something I am glad volunteering helped me with at a young age.
This post wasn’t to gloat but it is rather to say, volunteering does so much more than you original think and if it something you are thinking about doing, it is worth giving a go.