Also referred to as International Volunteer Day (IVD), December 5th honors people and organizations who manage volunteering exchanges. The day was designated by the United Nations in 1985 as an international observance day to celebrate the power and potential of volunteerism.
Service Civil International (SCI) is a non-profit organisation, where I do my volunteering year, coordinates South-North volunteering projects, by providing opportunities for German residence to go abroad for a volunteering service as well as hosting foreigners at our partner organisations. What is more, SCI organises workcamps that are determined toward a dialogue between nations, striving for peace and non-violent communication.
This season before December, I decided to ask our staff members about What is volunteering for me? And with this article, I would like to develop answers that we received.
First, volunteerism is good for mental and physical health, as well as happiness. Together with strengthening the body, volunteerism elevates mood and reduces stress, combats depression, keeps you mentally stimulated, and provides a sense of purpose. The social contact aspect of helping and working with others can have a profound effect on your overall psychological well-being. Nothing relieves stress better than a meaningful connection to another person. Such activities keep you in regular contact with others and help you develop a stable support system, which in turn protects you against depression. By measuring hormones and brain activity, researchers have discovered that being helpful to others delivers immense pleasure. The more we give, the happier we feel.
Furthermore, doing good for others and the community provides a natural sense of accomplishment, so the feeling of confidence. Your role as a volunteer can also give you a sense of pride and identity. And the better you feel about yourself, the more likely you are to have a positive picture of your life and future goals. Additionally, volunteering provides a sense of purpose. Older adults, especially those who have retired or lost a spouse, can find new meaning and direction in their lives by cooperating with others. Whatever your age or life situation, volunteering can help take your mind off your own worries, keep you mentally stimulated, and add more taste to your life.
Secondly, volunteering brings friends from different cultures, so it breaks our stereotypes and improves our language skills. If to continue talking about communication, one of the more well-known benefits of volunteering is the impact on the community. Volunteering enables you to connect to your community and make it a better place. Even helping out with the smallest tasks can make a real difference to the lives of people, animals, and organizations in need. And volunteering is a two-way impact: It can benefit you and your family as much as the purpose you choose to help. Devoting your time as a volunteer brings you new friends, expands your network, and boosts your communicative skills.
Thirdly, volunteering can advance a career or get the first step to the new one, while getting experience in your area of interest and meeting people in the field. It offers an opportunity to practice important skills used in the workplace, such as teamwork, communication, problem-solving, project planning, task management, and organization. Therefore, just because volunteer work is unpaid does not mean the skills you learn are basic, so people who volunteer even have a better chance of gaining employment.
Last but not least, volunteering is a pleasant and peaceful way to explore your interests and passions. Doing volunteer work you find meaningful and interesting can be a relaxing, energizing escape from your day-to-day routine of work, school, or family responsibilities. It also provides you with refreshed creativity, motivation, and concept that can carry over into your personal and professional life.
These were the reasons to volunteer mentioned by my colleagues answering the question - what is volunteering for them? And as for me, volunteering is freedom, an opportunity to follow your own feelings and ensure peace within yourself. I am inspired that volunteering can bring people together from different backgrounds and ages. When I was 18 years old I participated in the first workcamp in Ukraine and since then believe that is a great option to spend your holidays - in a new and friendly environment of people, cooperating together.
This year SCI movement could collaboratively enjoy the event that was organised by SCI International - International Volunteering Fair where participants could learn more about the work of SCI, as well as topics related to the peace movement and volunteering. People from all around the world could enjoy the online game and the debates that were going on.