Volunteering – To give or not to give? That is the question.

...and that is the question mark! See his tail? ;-)

…and that is the question mark! See his tail? ūüėČ

“Volunteering¬†is generally considered an¬†altruistic¬†activity and is intended to promote good or improve human¬†quality of life. In return, this activity can produce a feeling of¬†self-worth¬†and¬†respect. There is no financial gain involved. Volunteering is also renowned for skill development, socialization, and fun.” –¬†Wikipedia, 2013.

 

I have been a volunteer for as long as I can remember. As a young child, I remember taking presents and clothes to people in need. I remember selling raffle tickets and lighters for an animal charity. I remember giving food to families in need. I remember collecting food, clothes and blankets for earthquake victims and then driving hundreds of kilometres to deliver them (and losing one of my own shoes in the process!). I¬†remember¬†helping younger children with their reading at school. I remember feeding stray animals on the streets. I¬†remember¬†adopting several stray animals. I¬†remember¬†coaching school teams. I remember picking rubbish off beaches. I remember going to orphanages and holding parties for special needs children. I remember going to old age homes with gifts for the elderly. I remember fundraising for a charity for children with life-threatening diseases. I remember planting trees on a mountain. I remember donating money to several charitable causes – and I generally don’t remember much!

I was obviously brought up by charitable parents, so giving (whether it be my time or possessions or money) is like second nature to me. However, I am by no means a saint! I simply get pleasure out of helping those who are in a less fortunate position than myself. So even though I may not be earning any money as a volunteer, I am in fact gaining several other, more important, benefits. For example, I feel good about myself when I help a person or an animal in need. I get to meet like-minded people and have made very good friends through volunteering. I get to spend my free time doing something I enjoy.

People obviously choose to volunteer for a cause that is close to their heart for some or other reason. So they do it¬†happily¬†and passionately. I can’t imagine anyone volunteering to do something they don’t enjoy doing or won’t enjoy the end result of doing. I mean, I would never volunteer to help animal-abusing chain-smokers with body odour on an airplane to learn how to dance reggae! If Brad Pitt, however, needed a nanny for his children‚Ķwell, that’s another story!

So, does volunteering make us better people? Possibly. Does volunteering make us feel like better people? Definitely.

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