Katherine Barbara Montana discusses the value and joy in volunteering, and offers advice on those looking to make a difference in their own communities.
Remember that old saying, “It is better to give than to receive”? We all, at least at one point in our lives, believed the opposite; especially as a child around Christmas time! However, the truth was that it felt incredible to watch your siblings open the gifts that you saved up to buy them, and it felt fantastic to see your friends open their cards that you had worked so hard to draw. Growing up is learning that giving is truly better than receiving, and we don’t have to wait for holidays to put this belief into practice.
Volunteering is the perfect way to give. The beautiful thing about it is that most places love to have individuals who are simply excited to give back to their own community, so you can work at a place you love while helping others! Whether you volunteer twice a year or twice a week, it matters. Your individual communities always need some sort of help; going to your city’s website is a good place to start looking for opportunities to go out and do so.
Volunteering is wonderful, but like anything, it can have its ups and downs. I have learned to not be discouraged if a volunteer position is not for you.
For example, I volunteered for a few weeks at an institution that, though I loved, felt was not the right fit for me. I thought long and hard about it and decided that the best thing for me to do would be to leave that specific volunteer position and move on to another one. I found myself blossoming in my new position and decided to stay on for two more summers.
Even though a specific position may not be the right fit, it does not mean that volunteering itself isn’t right for you. If you try even just a few different positions, I guarantee that you will fall in love with at least one. Once you find one that you love, you will never look back in terms of wanting to help your community. Volunteering is about giving back, and if you keep that knowledge in your heart, you will likely excel at anything you put your mind to.
It truly is better to give than to receive, and volunteering proves that without a doubt.