To some, volunteering is seen as “hard work for no gain”, or something similarly dismissive. Whilst you (usually) get no material reward out of volunteering, this is more than compensated for by the intangible benefits. Volunteering opportunities can change lives, both yours and the lives of those you’re helping. You will also gain a plethora of valuable skills, life experience, and world knowledge.
- Leadership Skills
Volunteering is an excellent way to develop your leadership skills and to figure out what kind of leader you really are. “Leadership” might sound like a grand quality for a select few, but it really is very accessible. You just need to be brave enough to reach out and take the opportunity. By making your voice hear and your impact known, you will develop those skills that make you a leader. It doesn’t have to be a “natural born” thing; anyone can learn.
- Challenge your boundaries
Often, volunteering opportunities will take you to places outside of your normal comfort zone. Whether it’s in a geographic sense, socially or just with the responsibilities assigned to you, you’ll be expanding your boundaries every day you’re away volunteering. It’ll also make going into new jobs much easier, as you’ll be used to entering unfamiliar and seemingly intimidating environments.
- Meeting new people
Almost goes without saying, but is significant enough to be mentioned anyway. By volunteering, you’ll be meeting new people from many walks from life. You’ll learn how to quickly socialize in a working environment, as well as appreciate the varied backgrounds of everyone you meet. From those new to the experience, to veterans of volunteering, you’ll learn that everyone has a story, and everyone will want to hear your story.
- The Impact
Volunteering is an excellent way to realize that what you do has a significant impact on the people and communities around you. For example, beach cleaning might not seem like a significant task at first, but it has proper environmental implications, as well as benefits for the communities that visit. Volunteering at animal rescue centers can improve the welfare of the local wildlife, and raise awareness for various environmental and ethical issues. This would go on, but there’s only so much that can be said in one blog post.
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