The first time that I volunteered is one experience that I will never forget.
It was through my youth group and it was a day at an orphanage in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Our “job” for the day was to play with the kids.
The orphanage staff comprised mostly of women, who dedicated their lives to mothering these children that had often been abandoned or whose parents died. I was impressed by their selflessness. I remember walking into the house scattered with toys that were broken and worn out but completely loved by their owners. Spending time with the children was something that meant the world to me, I connected to them. I promised myself that I would always do everything in my power to help children in need. Maybe it was the fact that I imagined that I could have been one of them or maybe it was their cute smiles, my heart was captivated from that day on.
One thing that bothered me at the orphanage was the fact that people often only went once and never returned, which I can imagine is not easy on the children. Many times, what children need is to build real emotional connections and one visit may not provide them with that.
There are also many one-time-volunteer events like sport events and different campaigns, and these would be ideal if you are still trying to figure out your favourite way to volunteer your time and skills. Since that first time, I have volunteered in many different capacities and I have always felt like I received much more than I gave, every single time. That is simply the beauty of giving, be it of money, skills or time.
I hope you find ways to contribute in ways that transform how you view giving back.