Volunteering, donating your time, expertise and energy to a cause or program you think is beneficial to the world. Walking dogs, packing food and cleaning up beaches are three examples of the vast opportunities you can find when you volunteer in your community. More important than the hours you can write on your resume or application, are the skills and lessons you will learn in the process.
1. You learn new skills
It's essential but too important to overlook. Gaining skills from volunteer work is an opportunity no one should overlook. Gain knowledge of an industry or practical skills to apply to life and work. Through volunteering at an animal shelter I learned about grooming, cleaning, and organization as well as managing a team, through becoming a team lead of younger volunteers. Although I joined the volunteering program to play with dogs, I found myself gaining new skills and insight ever single day.
2. You gain team-working abilities
It isn't easy for everyone, but at some point (or hundreds) we all have to be apart of a team. Classrooms, work and more ask us to join up with other people to brainstorm or complete a task. Volunteering can be alone, but the majority will place you in a team where you work towards doing something for a person, place or community. Cleaning up streets with others taught me more about listening and collaborating in order to use our own skills in order to be as timely and professional as possible.
3. You'll learn that compassion is key
Volunteering often occurs in vulnerable communities or people. As a reader for kids, I often read to kids who struggled with reading or writing or had a difficult time. And as an animal shelter volunteer, I often walked dogs who were scared due to being abused in their former home. Through experiences like this and many others, volunteers learn that having compassion is key in everything you do in life. Extending your hand to help, and understanding not everyone has an easy or simple background.
4. You'll meet new people
The great thing about volunteering for an organization you are passionate about is that the people who are there with you are as well. I've met some of my best friends by volunteering because the compassionate mindset of other volunteers can be uplifting and inspiring in friendship too. Find your people by volunteering, you might be surprised!