There are as many reasons to volunteer, as there are volunteers. But sometimes, the reason is not the most important part, but the effects that volunteering has in people’s lives. I’d like to share my opinion about volunteering, and how it can change someone’s life.
I believe everything starts by the meaning of being human. The human being is, in itself, a social being, but we might act differently depending on our main principles. The need for socialization can be satisfied by volunteering. And together with socialization, we can develop a characteristic that may easily be forgotten by many people: empathy.
Empathy is the key for a connected society
Empathy is what connects society. It is not just what we have in common, but how we experience society and life together. Since we are living pandemic times, everyone can feel empathy for other people at the other corner of the world, because we are living the same experiences.
Feeling empathy for others when they live in a similar situation to us is easy but being empathic towards someone whom we don’t share the same background with is much harder. This is what volunteering brings us: being curious about strangers, trying to understand what it is that’s different between us, fighting prejudices, listening to other people’s problems or life experiences. By sharing experiences and interests we open-up ourselves for the world and for others.
These small steps can help anyone develop themselves to be more empathic. For a personal good, but also for the good of society. With time we can learn how to be grateful for what we have, we can learn how to help people and how to be useful for society. We can learn how to be part of a community and find that feeling of belonging – we can learn to be part of something bigger than ourselves, but also we can learn how to live in the present.
Finding meaningfulness in volunteering
I believe this is the biggest challenge of volunteering, feeling alive, living the moment, living for society and living for others. In my opinion, this is a very noble way of thinking and acting. Above all, I believe it is what gives life a meaning, because if we don’t care about every single individual in society, everyone will be disconnected and forgotten.
I want to emphasize the work of the volunteers in Sininauhasäätiö. These past months have been hard, and many of us have not been allowed to do something we enjoy: to help, share and give. Our customers feel something is missing, and even if all the staff is present and ready to help, it’s always nice to have someone new, who is ready to do small things, so everyone feels satisfied. Us volunteers have been trying to do our best. Small initiatives are always welcome, even if it’s just staying home sewing some wool socks.
These are the small things that make everyday life valuable and meaningful.