‘Be the change you want to see in the world’ ~ Mahatma Gandhi
By Aimee Foster
Volunteering has been a large part of my life for many years. I’ve always had a strong desire to give something back, a mindset I picked up from my parents who were often involved with different charities. While I’ve spent most of my adult life volunteering in some capacity or another, I’ve never sat back and appreciated the true value of volunteering – not just for the organisation I volunteer for but also for myself.
When I was at university I volunteered for an organisation called Nightline, the student version of The Samaritans. I also volunteered at my daughter’s pre-school for years, helping organise fundraising activities and events. After losing my second daughter to a heart condition, I started volunteering for Tiny Tickers. When I look back at the people I’ve met, the experiences I’ve had and everything I’ve learned through volunteering, it’s safe to conclude my life has been enriched beyond measure by the opportunities volunteering has presented me with.
You don’t need much spare time to volunteer – just one hour per month is enough. This week is Volunteers Week, a time to celebrate the contribution volunteers make to charities and communities all over the UK. If volunteering is something you’ve thought about but never got round to organising, below are some compelling reasons why you should:
You Will Learn New Skills
This is especially important for students and those looking to enhance their CVs. As a stay at home mum, volunteering enabled me to keep my CV up-to-date and have recent references. I hated the job I left behind when I had my first child. The skills I’ve gained through volunteering guarantee that I never have to go back to it. Volunteering with Tiny Tickers has enabled me to find out what I really want to do and learn the skills to do it.
If you want to change your career path, fitting in a stint of volunteering around your day job is an excellent way to gain the experience you require. There are so many organisations looking for volunteers – you can learn anything you desire, while feeling proud of yourself at the same time.
You Will See The World Outside Your Window
We can all spend far too much time thinking about ourselves. By volunteering we can find out about the world around us and become aware of causes and issues we didn’t know existed.
Volunteering will make you look at the world outside your window and feel proud for the part you’re playing in making lasting change.
You Will Make New Friends
Through my volunteering and fundraising, I’ve met some incredible people and formed life-long friendships. When you volunteer for a cause you feel passionate about, you’re certain to meet people who you share that passion with. This can be a solid foundation for a wonderful new friendship.
You Set A Good Example
My desire to volunteer undoubtedly came from my parents who were incredibly socially conscious. In turn, I share my volunteering journey with my kids. My eight-year-old daughter has accompanied me to many fundraising events. She loved Make the Point, a 10k run and fun day, which raises money for Tiny Tickers. My daughter always takes an interest in what I do. I’m proud that she’s already made a list of causes she wants to donate her money and time to as she grows up.
Because my kids see me volunteering, they view it as something everyone does. It’s normal for them. I hope this encourages them to volunteer in the future too.
You Make A Difference
Nothing is more fulfilling than knowing your actions are making a difference. Many studies have shown that giving creates genuine feelings of happiness and contentment.
Volunteering gave me renewed confidence at a time when most of my days were spent diffusing toddler tantrums and making Play Doh ice creams. I feel valued outside of the home and that means a great deal to me.
The feeling of pride and satisfaction that arises from changing lives is second to none. Even if you can’t actually see the change you are affecting, you know it’s there.
Volunteers change lives and make the world a better place, while at the same time reaping a whole host of personal benefits. According to the NCVO, 15.2 million people volunteer at least once per month in the UK. With ever-increasing cuts to public services there is a need for charities and volunteers to fill the gaps. This means there’s never been a better time to find a cause you feel passionate about and get stuck in.
Tiny Tickers is always looking for volunteers to help make a difference to lives of babies with serious heart conditions. Whether you want to volunteer in fundraising, admin, marketing, events or something else entirely, why not drop us a line and find out how we can help each other? You’ll be so glad you did!