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What comes to your mind when you hear the word “volunteering?”

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What comes to your mind when you hear the word “volunteering?”

According to google, the word volunteer means “a person who freely offers to take part in an enterprise or undertake a task.” Let’s dive deep in this definition, what does it mean to “freely offer?” – it means “to give without being asked.” Many a times, we forget this real meaning and volunteer for recognition or even to put a check mark on our to-do list. I was one of them initially – I would volunteer because I had to but not because I want to.

As days went by, I understood that I was helping, that I was a playing the role of a catalyst in someone’s life to help them. When I had a deeper sense of why I was doing what I was doing – then I instantly fell in love with what I was doing. It gave me immense satisfaction. In a way It gives me a reason and importance of my existence. I’m sure I didn’t understand this when I wasn’t volunteering ‘freely.’ A recent study by the University of Exeter and National Council for Voluntary Organisations found that volunteers live longer and have more satisfying lives. It also gives them a sense of purpose. Above all, it gave me the value of my time. I sure knew it was worth the time. And that’s why I decided to pen down my thoughts about volunteering and its impacts and share them with you.

We often tend to feel pressurized when we hear the term “Social Responsibilities.” But the truth is that this Social Responsibility is actually the driving force when it comes to volunteerism. It is the force that makes you believe that you are capable of stirring up change that you often want to see around you. It makes you believe that in some way or the other, you are capable of doing some good.

Most of the time, when you volunteer you get to volunteer with others with the same passion or towards the same goal. This way you build connections! Ask me how? You are connected to the community, you are connected with a problem, you are connected to the solution, and you are connected to the change that you are working for! You are connected to a process – a process in which you play a major role! You see building connections is like building the change. Remember, YOU are making the change.

If you ever feel led or stuck with what you need or want to do as a volunteer, I would like to suggest something. Firstly, Could I request you to take a moment and create your own definition of volunteering? Think about what you would like to do or how would you like leave an impact on people around you. You do not have to start big and do not have to despise your small beginnings. I suggest you to simply begin with your family. It could be helping your maid who helps your family, spending time with the elderly in your house, teaching technology to your parents, tutoring the young ones in your family or simply just being there for them can make a lot of difference. They could be so many things you could do to those around you and trust me, your family will be the first ones to recognise your value and your worth. And this is because you are going that extra mile “freely” for them.

Still feel stuck in picking volunteering options? Here’s another tip: Is there a cause that excites you? Is there something happening in your local community or overseas that breaks your heart? Find out what instigates your emotional response within you and address it? Try considering your talents and incorporate it with your passion of helping others. I am sure you will find ways to support something.

Above all, honour your commitment to volunteer and be consistent. You are using your own time and effort — so be sure to give it your best shot instead of just volunteering for the heck of it because end of the day YOU are involved. I hope you will find the true meaning of volunteering and what it means to you and run with you. Find your purpose! Happy Volunteering!

Ernest Matta

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