Some people have weird notions of what volunteering is. Most envisage being stuck behind the counter of a charity shop or soup kitchens and money collections – not that there is anything boring, less valid or worthwhile about these, but there is so much more you can do to not only help others and gain something for yourself.
A friend remarked once that I was a charity “Ho” (you know who you are!) and although from the outside my volunteering may seem like a glory seeking, goodie two shoes act I’ve gained a lot from these experiences. Getting back as much as you give doesn’t have to be a selfish thing!
I volunteer when I’m able to as I cannot work, my condition CRPS is so temperamental that I’m sadly an unreliable work force and most of the time in too much pain or exhausted from lack of sleep. Volunteering makes me feel like I’m still contributing to society.
Over the 10 years I’ve been volunteering I have:
- Taught children’s drama classes
- Help organise a Fleetwood Mac tribute evening
- Made a few hundred sandwiches in one sitting for a children’s club outing
- Cooked meals for families who couldn’t afford their own food
- Held homework classes and I.T tutorials
- Offered online buddy systems for children with CRPS
- Dressed up in various costumes/daft hats for promotion of charities and collections
- Written articles/poems/advertising for various causes
And loads more, and had I been able I would have done more, mind you had I been able to I would have got a job instead!
As I was unable to take the “normal” routes to college and University my grades alone wouldn’t have got me into the courses I wanted to take, but team leaders, tutors and entry boards saw that I was determined, forever trying my hand at new things and committed. Yes my health always governs all of the above but I’ll never give up trying.
Just this week I’ve been volunteering with the Southend Operatic and Dramatic Society (S.O.D.S) helping out in front of house selling programmes and roses for their production of Beauty and the Beast. I’ve only managed a couple hours due to pain levels soaring (although my doctor has, today, doubled my medication – Thankfully!!) but I like meeting new people and catching up with old friends – I sometimes moan about a duty or something I’ve said yes to but 99% of the time I love doing it!