Volunteering in your local community is beneficial for the community and yourself. In my first article, I listed many of the reasons why people volunteer and what value volunteering can bring to your life. In this article I want to list three examples of engagement in the local community and the benefit of it. And at the end, you may even find out how volunteering can be related to a marriage proposal!
Volunteering in my hometown in Germany
When I was in high school, we had the opportunity to participate in a social project. For a certain amount of time, you would volunteer in your respective association/institution. In my case, I was going to an inclusive Cafe where I was mainly talking to the guests. We were playing games and of course, drinking coffee together. The guests of this coffee place were very diverse. People of all ages, people with and without disabilities coming together. The purpose of this special place is to create a room for encounters and a space where especially disabled people have the opportunity to socialize and also come with their doubts or concerns to the staff or just tell them about what’s going on in their life. All of that, while being an open place for everyone and not separating people with disabilities.
I strongly believe that we ought to come together and create these spaces of encounter in order to create an inclusive society where everyone has their place at the table and we come together to discuss. While being diverse, we bring more perspective and this is where we can learn and improve. This is one of the things I could take out of this experience. Furthermore, I could get to know a lot of new people and their stories. I felt a very appreciative atmosphere there and I felt accomplished because people were sharing with me their stories. I really enjoyed this time period and like going back to that place.
The local volunteer’s work with Amazonas
Also Amazonas works together with local volunteers. I was talking with Vjeko, who is coordinating the local volunteers of Amazonas too. He explained to me the role of the local volunteers like this:
“The local volunteers are involved in helping the people that our projects are designed to help, by directly working with them. Most often in two ways: when working with kids they meet with them once a week and help them with school work, while also connecting with them and helping them develop other skills. When working with adults, our volunteers are counsellors and psychotherapists who then use their skills to also help the people by working with them directly.“
And why is their voluntary work so valuable?
“Their work is really important as it enables us to provide better and more comprehensive help for our target groups, while also helping us to develop our skills and enrich our knowledge through different perspectives as well.”
As I am convinced, volunteering is beneficial for both sides, also a lot for the volunteers themselves. Vjeko mentions this as well:
“I think that the benefits for our volunteers are vast as well, as they get to experience and practice their skills that later can be used in their professional lives. They are given the opportunity to be a part of different activities that are designed to provide them with knowledge and expertise in their work and, of course, they get the satisfaction of knowing that they are very directly helping people, and also the entire community”.
Of volunteering an love
The last and probably love-liest example I want to give is of my brother. After going for an exchange year in Thailand, he decided to volunteer for the association he went with as a mentor. That means that he was supporting the exchange students that came to Germany. Organizing meetings and helping in case of struggles or questions. One of his mentees was a girl from Brazil and as mentor and mentee, they were getting along very well. So well, that they got into a relationship. Now, nine years later, they’re living together in Germany and are planning to get married soon. This volunteering definitely changed their lives!
Volunteering in your local community, with all the different possibilities there are, can have a big impact on your own and other people’s lives. And even though it’s not a guarantee for finding the love of your life, you can find people that have an impact on your life and share similar values, plus you make enriching experiences. I truly encourage everyone that has the time and motivation to volunteer, to find a nice association in their hometown. It really does make a difference, for the local community and for yourself.
See you next month!