Posted by: Dennis
Posted: 19th Mar 2012
I started doing volunteer work while in my early teens, continued throughout my forestry career & as a family man, and still volunteering as a retired person: I've been involved with my Christian church, Boy Scouts, Alpha Phi Omega, Peace Corps, Meals-on-Wheels, local SPCA, local community house, Alternatives to Violence Project, Maori Wardens, & Lifeline. For me, seeing or hearing the joy &/or satisfaction of finding a way forward from people who have been helped by what one has done provides a great deal of personal satisfaction.
I had figured out before I started volunteering that we cannot live outside of a community – no matter how much of a self-reliant, self-sufficient hermit we think we could be, there will always be a community we're attached to. Therefore we all have a civic duty to contribute to our community to make it a safe, secure, and satisfying place for everyone to have a full lifestyle and pursue a paid livelihood. I think, generally speaking, that ceasing to volunteer for the betterment of your community while you are still physically and mentally capable is to be dead, whether you're still breathing or not.
That means gifting a portion of your time & resources to the welfare of your community. That said; for our own welfare, we need to realise that what we do for our paid livelihood is best kept separate and different to what we gift as a volunteer. Don't let the boundaries around what you get paid to do and what you gift as a volunteer get blurred. Note: as a citizen, volunteering is a gift; a responsibility; a civic duty – not something that can be required or obligated or purchased or earned. And that is something the community leaders & politicians who “accept” people's gifts through their volunteering need to remember as those leaders respond to volunteers. So-called “volunteer” (unpaid) internships (usually being “required” to get into or advance your paid career) are blatant exploitation.
Also, when we are told / expected / demanded that to be accepted our gift of volunteering must meet “professional standards”, with training & qualifications paid for by us, then you can bet “someone” has structured our community to be exploitive & controlling rather than being a nurturing and liberating society. [But that leads into a different topic probably more related to politics & government; so, enough said here on it.] Reply