Today I had the pleasure of attending a local school to talk to over a hundred year 12 boys about volunteering, both at home and abroad. My approach was less about ‘the benefits to University applications and employment’, and more about ‘Why not do it?! Community activities depend on the goodwill and energy of volunteers – stand up and be counted – and oh, yes of course it will have some benefits….’)
Anyway, the preparation for the talk and the presentation itself gave rise to a few interesting thoughts, one of which I want to share sooner rather than later – strike while the iron is hot, so to speak.
I wanted to demonstrate what volunteering opportunities were available to these students in their local area. To do so I used www.do-it.org, a resource that I have been long aware of, but not one that I use regularly.
In shortlisting interest areas that I thought might appeal to the average young male, I was pleasantly surprised to see that out of the 1.4 million UK volunteer placements they claimed to have listed, there were a good number of relevant and diverse opportunities for the boys within 3 miles of their home town. Over 50 of them in fact, many of which had a very clear appeal.
If one of the potential obstacles to volunteering is ‘not knowing what to do’, then I would like to remind everyone that www.do-it.org is a fantastic online resource to help you overcome it.
We could talk about the other obstacles (time… lethargy …and time again), but that would distract you from this valuable starting point which is OPPORTUNITY.
Half way through preparing for this presentation therefore, I got distracted into looking at how I could volunteer in my local area. And yes indeed, there was plenty to interest me. There were even opportunities that were very flexible on their time commitments, eroding obstacle number two.
So if you are a young adult wondering how you can broaden your life experience and volunteer to do something in and for your local community, or you are an adult who wants to bring some variety and goodwill back into the weekly agenda by volunteering, then can I encourage you to spend 15 minutes on www.do-it.org.
You will be sure to find the opportunity to volunteer in your community and most likely one that fits with your time commitments if you’re honest.
Which just leaves you (and me) to deal with that third obstacle – lethargy!