It’s the beginning of the new year and you’ve decided to start volunteering. You want to give back to your community and at the same time learn and grow from the experience. But how do you know your experience will be meaningful?
Here’s 5 ways to make the most out of your volunteer experience:
- Find your talents. What are you passionate about? What do you excel at? Use your skills and talents to help others around you. Do you love to teach? Tutor children in after-school programs. Can you throw an amazing party? Organize a gathering for vulnerable families. Are you a master chef? Cook a feast for families around the holidays or special occasions. Whatever your unique talent is, there’s a way to incorporate it into a volunteer opportunity.
- Get out of your comfort zone. It’s easy to stay inside our comfortable boxes. But by venturing out of the box, we can discover joy and fulfillment we didn’t know was possible. It takes work to be a volunteer. There’s a learning curve as you learn about the organization and your specific job duties. But don’t let that scare you from trying out something new. Be adventurous. Sign up for the opportunity that scares you. Purposely connect with others. Walk into your volunteering expecting to be challenged. It might be the best thing you’ve ever done.
- Be Flexible. If there is one thing I have come to recognize is that things change. Circumstances change, places change, events change and lives change. It’s inevitable. And more than likely, there will be something about your volunteer opportunity that will change. Perhaps you’ll get reassigned. There may be new people or a new room and responsibilities. Just remember why you are volunteering and roll with the punches. Be flexible to take on the change.
- Connect with people. Take advantage of the chance to be around a different circle of people. Learn more about the people you are volunteering with. Discover why they are there and what motivates them to volunteer. Take the time to get to know the families you are helping. Share their dreams and passions and encourage them.
- Be committed. There are dozens of volunteer opportunities ranging from one-time commitments to more long-term. You don’t need to sign up for a year-long venture. But whatever you decided to do, jump fully in and be committed to your project. Invest into your opportunity and see how lives are impacted by your commitment.
Volunteer opportunities comes in many shapes and sizes. You need only find the place that fits you and your talents. By serving vulnerable families and children, you experience the joy of Christ working through your life. Discover the joy of investing in your community, and you might be surprised on how much you get back.
Buckner International offers many different volunteer opportunities for all ages. Find an opportunity in your community by visiting buckner.org/volunteer.