This is a giving time of year......why not do something that will cost you nothing but a couple hours of your time? Here are five reasons why I like to volunteer.
1. Help your community save money, so they can invest it in other places
There are myriads of non-profits and community organizations that completely depend on volunteers to operate. They literally cannot do it without you. By volunteering your time to these groups, they are able to put the money you are saving them back into your community. You might not be directly paid, but you are paid in other ways through the programs they invest in.
2. Meet people who live by you
Volunteering can be helpful for expanding your friend group or even for job networking. Through volunteering in my community, I’ve met so many new people, from the people I serve meals with to the people helping at an event. It’s easy for me to become stuck in my bubble of white, middle-class, middle age parents. Volunteering connects you with a more diversified group of people.
3. Learn about your community
What better way is there to learn about the place you live than to help operate your city and meet people in it? Particularly if you live in a town bigger than 50,000 people, it can be easy to feel lost and insignificant in the place you live. One way to overcome this is to find out about more things that are happening in your city and get involved with them.
4. You understand your own community
You understand your community’s culture, standard of living, and way of doing things. Volunteering overseas can take years of training to learn the culture, and sometimes even involves learning a new language. Even then you may still be forever perceived as an outsider. Although there are other good reasons to volunteer overseas, these reasons listed are why volunteering in your own community just makes sense.
5. Return the favour
You know how they say “It takes a village to raise a child?” Your community has probably done a lot for you, especially if you’ve lived in the same place for a long period of time. They might have schooled you, provided services for you, ran events for you, looked out for you. Most people only have the time to volunteer in one or two places, but if everyone volunteers in one of two places, our communities will be much stronger places.