Who volunteers and why?
Do you think of volunteering as something your granny does to fill her afternoons? Or just for people with a lot of time and money on their hands? Wrong! Volunteering is for everyone – and as well as helping to change the lives of other people for the better, there’s a lot in it for you as well.
The benefits of volunteering – especially for teens and young people – go on and on. Volunteer work allows you to:
- Make lifelong friends
- Expand your social group to like-minded people outside your school or college
- Strengthen your CV
- Give you hands-on work experience
- Learn new skills
- Strengthen university applications
- Become more employable
And of course you’ll be making the world a better place!
There are also a whole bunch of knock-on benefits that most people never even think about. The physical and mental health benefits you earn by solving problems, strengthening communities and transforming lives are numerous. According to recent research undertaken in America there is a strong link between volunteering and health, with people who choose to volunteer having lower mortality rates and lower rates of depression than people who don’t.
Where do you get started?
What are you interested in? What’s your passion? What do you wish you were better at? What would you really like to do for a career?
These are all things you are probably thinking about anyway at this point in your life. And volunteering can help you with all of them – not only in figuring out what is important to you in life, but in helping you acquire the skills, knowledge and experience to make your goals a reality.
- If you need some inspiration, check out the V labs blog (http://labs.vinspired.com/uk-volunteering) and browse the opportunities available in your area. From creative helpers to youth exchanges, community volunteers to Samaritans, the companies listed here cover off volunteer opportunities to suit every passion.
- Got your decision making sorted and know what you want to achieve? Lucky you! Now it’s time to build the skills and experience to make you the candidate every employer will want. As well as volunteering, the National Trust offers a range of skill workshops and apprenticeships, helping you land your dream job in anything from building to conservation work. Places on schemes like this can be competitive, so show your commitment and get some hard work under your belt now.
- Have you done some volunteering before or fancy jumping in at the deep end? You could be eligible for a place volunteering abroad. There are numerous companies offering chances to help with projects all over the world, many of which help tackle poverty and inequality. These opportunities aren’t for the faint hearted, but if you’re up to the challenge, volunteering abroad will be a truly life-changing experience.
Overall volunteering is beneficial in so many ways. Both personally and proffesionally. If you have ever thought about volunteering then go for it, there is nothing to lose and you can only learn from the experiance.