Quote: “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” – Muhammad Ali
Today is the International Youth Day, and I want to share my thought with the teeming Nigerian youth on the act of Volunteering. Volunteering is not common in Nigeria, but it is in the developed nations, and even some developing economies like Kenya. You see young people taking a gap year to explore other continents and volunteer.
According to Wikipedia, “Volunteering is generally considered an altruistic activity where an individual or group provides services for no financial gain. Volunteering is also renowned for skill development, and is often intended to promote goodness or to improve human quality of life. Volunteering may have positive benefits for the volunteer as well as for the person or community served. It is also intended to make contacts for possible employment. Many volunteers are specifically trained in the areas they work, such as medicine, education, or emergency rescue. Others serve on an as-needed basis, such as in response to a natural disaster.”
It saddens me when I hear applicants say “I have been searching for a job for the past 2 – 3 years, but couldn’t get any”. When I ask if they have ever thought of working pro bono during the waiting period to get experience, they go “I can’t work for free o!” In most cases I sit them down to enlighten them about the benefits of volunteering and how they could end up getting that dream job of theirs in the course of volunteering.
There are many benefits of Volunteering some of which are highlighted below:
1) It helps you develop new skills – There are certain things you cannot learn in school, but on the job. You are given jobs that challenge and develop you. The experience gained during this period of learning is invaluable.
2) It helps you live a healthier life – Because your mind is engaged in something productive, you are not susceptible to being depressed or engaging in vices.
3) It can help you earn your next/dream job – It is natural for business owners to employ someone who knows about the workings of the business when there is a vacant post than to hire someone that has to be trained freshly.
4) Making new friends – It helps you meet new people who can be potential reference when the opportunity comes (provided you made a positive impression). They could even recommend you if you let them know you need a permanent job. It offers the opportunity to cross paths as well as, in many cases, quickly bond with people from different background.
5) It adds to your Resume – Universities abroad usually want to know what you are doing in your community (Community Service). Not only do you have to show that you volunteer your time, but you also have to show that you are taking a leadership role, or creating something new that fills a gap in the community. Aside University or College requirement, it forms part of your work experience when searching for work.
6) It helps you feel cool – It gives you joy serving others and helping to improve the community.
HOW TO FIND A VOLUNTEERING OPPORTUNITY?
Post your intentions on Facebook, LinkedIn or even Instagram letting people know your skills.
So, what are you waiting for? Make a difference today, meet new people, and gain new skills! A whole new experience awaits you! – VOLUNTEER!!!
To you all, Happy International Youth Day!!!