The value of volunteering by Mažena Germanovič

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Is volunteering about money? Should we measure it that way? Most people would say no. Volunteering is not about money. Volunteering is about giving, contributing, and helping other individuals and the community. It is working with others to make a meaningful change in the world.
People volunteer for an endless variety of reasons. Many people want to gain experience, acquire new skills, meet new people, or expand their network of contacts as a way to get a new job or start a career. Others just want to help and contribute to create a vibrant society – dynamic, engaged and self-reliant. They do it because it makes them feel good. It is the feeling of satisfaction that keeps volunteers going. Most people think volunteering is just about organizing hundreds or thousands of volunteers for large events but that is not quite true. It is spontaneous acts of kindness like helping a neighbor shovel their walk, giving aid to seniors, or helping an elderly person cross a busy street. It’s the little things we do that make the biggest difference in this world.
Furthermore, I’m also a volunteer and I’ve been volunteering for almost 10 years at the day care center for disabled people in my town (or The Day Care Center for Disabled People?). You may think “wow helping for so many years and getting nothing in return, not even a single penny”. Well, helping and giving is something I always loved to do and seeing their faces light up when you help them or simply talk to them is incredible. Every time when I make a disabled person laugh or smile makes my heart melt and that is when I realized I want to help them see this world not as a dull and miserable place to live but make them feel like they are apart of our community and they deserve to be respected as everyone else. It is an unpaid work that makes you feel satisfied of making someone a little more happy. Giving money for volunteers just undermines the true value of volunteerism. Like the term “mandatory volunteerism”, it misrepresents the meaning and spirit of volunteering. Our society needs motivated, not mandatory volunteers because volunteering is all about helping, not hiring, giving, not taking.

The value of volunteering is much deeper, much more fulfilling and much more important in contributing to a healthy and vibrant community than money can ever measure.

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