For one reason or another, “volunteer” is a word that can bring up conflicting emotions. Sometimes it can make folks cringe, bringing about memories of being “volunteered” for something you didn’t want to. A bad volunteer experience could have left you feeling taken advantage of by someone asking too much with too little in return. Many of us can conjure a memory of a room full of people being asked to volunteer for a role…and we hear crickets, no one wanting to step up. We’re all busy, can’t take on any more responsibility, and we especially can’t do it “for free.”
The flip side of this coin, however, is the proud volunteer who so willingly gives up his time for a cause. We all know somebody who simply glows, having found that perfect volunteer opportunity. What makes these folks so happy to be working so hard “for free”?
The benefits that a culture of volunteerism bring to a cause or community can be easily seen, but there are also countless benefits to the volunteer as well.
The Passion Project
Volunteering can be a way to exercise a passion, to bring something to your life that you might not find in your day-to-day. You might not be lucky enough to be working your dream job, but chances are there’s a corresponding dream volunteer gig that you could do on the side. To work on the things you truly love, even occasionally, can bring a level of fulfillment and meaning that will make you glow, too. Not to mention, the experience gained could help bring you closer to the job opportunity that you’ve been longing for.
Learn New Skills/Professional Development
Often times, that dream job requires specific skills or experiences that you don’t have just yet. How do you break the “I need experience to get a job to get the required experience” cycle – volunteer! Internships and other hands-on volunteer roles can be the best and fastest way to learn a new skill directly from an expert. Unlike a classroom experience, volunteering allows you to see the day to day of a role and learn exactly how a particular skill-set fits into a job or organization. Plus, you now have connections with people working in the field, and they’ve seen your dedication and potential.
Another benefit of volunteering that cannot be understated is the chance to connect with new people – with like-minded people who share similar passions. In a world where technology seems to be leaving us connected but isolated, volunteer events can be downright therapeutic as we come together to get our hands dirty in the name of something bigger than ourselves. Whether that dirt comes from playing with homeless puppies, fixing food for the hungry, building a home, or planting a tree in actual dirt, strong connections are made when we work with others toward a common goal.
Of course we hope you’ll want to volunteer to dig in the dirt with us at Charlotte’s Quest! If you’ve got a passion for the outdoors, gardening, working with children, or teaching others about these things that you love, then we’ve got a volunteer role for you. We even have administrative opportunities that can allow you to contribute to our mission in climate controlled comfort. But we do know that these things are not for everybody, and that is totally okay.
Regardless of where your passions lead, we encourage you to seek out a volunteer opportunity that you will love – you’ll be amazed at the personal sense of growth and gratification that comes along with giving back to your community.
To learn more about our Volunteer Team, contact Vicky Crouthamel at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with other volunteers by joining our Friends of Charlotte’s Quest Facebook Group.