What is volunteering? Excellent question! The best topic anyone could ever ponder about and send my way, in fact! Let me tell you all about it and why I know so much about it and am so enthused by it…
Volunteering is giving your time to others without something in return. Let me say right now, that volunteering because of a punishment, such as an order for community service, is NOT volunteering. It is giving your time without money, yes, but you are doing it because you have to. No person should ever feel pushed into volunteering because then it is not a true and genuine passion put into the time you spend with something. The best outcomes evolve when one’s heart is given at 100%.
I figure that I volunteer many more hours than I actually work for pay. If I were to be paid for all of the volunteering that I do, I would make enough money to not have to count every penny before purchasing a meal so that I’ll have enough for bills. The days that I spend the enormous amounts of hours in a day volunteering are the days I feel at my best. I would much rather be living homeless, in a box, on the streets, by myself, helping others to have a better life, than to be living in the lap of luxury and not doing as such. Some days, like today, I put in 10-15+ hours volunteering. After such days, I may feel exhausted, but I also feel invigorated & empowered, and nothing could ever make me feel as great. I highly recommend to everyone out there to somehow get involved, lend a helping hand, and better the lives of many people in need.
As of right now, I am a volunteer firefighter for my local fire station and unpaid EMT for a local EMS station. I, as well, am trying to run an online charity via Facebook. I also do many miscellaneous acts in between everything else. I love every moment of what I do, and wish there were more hours in a day, and years of life for me to do more.
How can you do it?
It’s simple! Find something that you are passionate about, and go with it. Many people have a heart for animals. There are numerous shelters in dire need of supplies and an extra pair of hands and caring heart to help out with the animals that were abandoned, beat, neglected, and now homeless. Even giving a few hours of your week to walk some dogs, or play with some kitties, or maybe even give a carrot to a hungry bunny, will make a major impact on those animals’ lives. Who said anything about volunteering benefiting only humans? Pssh, animals deserve our care more than selfish, greedy, careless humans.
I must put it out there that volunteering doesn’t always involve becoming a part of an organization/group and having to feel committed. Good deeds and volunteering going hand-in-hand. Heck you could simply stroll around your neighborhood with a garbage bag and clean up garbage along the road, in playgrounds, & everywhere in between.
You may also give your time to someone else who is leading an organization so that you don’t have as many responsibilities and are helping people that are helping others. This can be accomplished my maybe helping them pick-up/deliver supplies, making donations, spreading the word, ect. I can give a personal example. I have set up a group on Facebook dedicated to helping animals in my city. I hope to get people to make donations either with money, or animal/office supplies. I understand that many people would love to donate to the local shelters, but simply don’t have the money in these tough times and may feel silly donating just one bone or small bag of dog food. I understand this, so I figured if I can get one or two items from each person, or a few bucks, it’ll all add up in one bug stockpile and make for an amazing, unexpected delivery to the shelters. I set it up because I simply cannot dedicate more time to an organization hands-on, so this is something I can do online while volunteering elsewhere and in between the other things I do.
(If interested, visit: https://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/groups/201473283232535/ a Paypal account will soon be set up!)
I wish I were rich. If I was, I would use my money to get by in life while I dedicate my time to strictly volunteering, and not working for pay. When I do work for pay, I act as if I am not and give it my all knowing that my work is a show of who I am. For an example, one of my jobs is working in retail. I get extremely frantic and distressed if everything’s not perfectly in order and if I can’t help and please every customer at once. Everyone else tells me relax, it’s just a job, you take it too seriously. Yes, I do what I am supposed to, and that gets me money, but me taking it above and beyond is a reflection of me truly caring about my work and pleasing customers to have a great shopping experience in the store. By doing so, it is the only thing that makes me feel good about working for pay. The days that I am not scheduled, but asked to come in because they are short on staff or hours for the week, it makes my work day fly by because even though I am being paid, I am doing a favor by canceling my plans on my day off, and giving it to the store that’s in need of another person. I feel so great, and it always makes me wish I didn’t have to live my life off of money and could just do it for free.
I also wish that I had the resources to go out to third world countries and help out as much as I possibly can. I would love to deliver supplies, spend time with the people, and help let them know that there are some people out there that care about them, even though we are complete strangers many miles away, but that we are all people and should look out for one another no matter what age, gender, race, sexual orientation, or religion we are. Something as little as a bottle of water is like a ton of gold to them, so imagine bringing a 24 pack there with a few packs of cheap, basic, white t-shirts to them, or even old, used shoes. If only I could, I would.
I promise that there is no greater feeling than helping someone/something based solely on genuinely caring. Know that what you may feel is nothing, can change someone’s life and impact them forever. You may forget people you help along the way, but they will never forget you. Even just smiling at the elderly and restoring their faith in today’s youth can help. Holding a door open (now a rare act of kindness) for someone can make their day. Holding the bus for someone you seeing running down the street for it, can be of greater importance than you realize. These are simple acts of kindness that tie into volunteering. I see volunteering as something much greater than it is viewed as. Don’t just volunteer, be a good person always and everywhere to every person.
I once was entering the first set of doors to the mall. After stepping through the second set, I noticed someone walking ~20ft away from me, towards the door. I stopped, stepped back a few steps, and opened the door for her. She came to the door, stopped next to me, had a look of disbelief, had a major smile, and thanked me many times. I will not forget that, and I’m thinking she won’t either. Stupid little things like that are the things that can make the biggest impact.
I will leave everyone with some much needed advise ahead of time–Do NOT let the grumpy, unappreciative, pessimistic people bring you down and cause you to stop being kind and giving a helping hand. You could stand at a mall door and hold it for everyone all day long, and maybe only ONE person will thank you. Pardon my language, but fuck those assholes! Don’t let those horrible people stop you from being kind and doing what you are doing no matters what it is.
I hope this has served as an inspiration to go out and do something! Make a change. Help others. Be kind [rewind ;D].