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Volunteering is a multifaceted social construct, the benefits of which are inadequately promoted. From Dr Keith Suter: a look at the positives of volunteering both socially, and individually.
Volunteering is one of the best things anyone can do.
At the individual level, it improves a person’s well-being. It gets a person out of themselves and helps them to focus on matters greater than themselves. In today’s era which makes a virtue out of selfishness, it is good for a person’s mental health to give something back to society.
At a societal level, volunteering adds to “social capital”: the level of trust and neighbourliness. A flourishing economy cannot be built on a social graveyard. There has to be an underlying sense of confidence that one can live safely within society and be able to cooperate with one’s neighbours. This helps explain why the Australian economy is stronger than, say, Somalia’s.
Volunteering can be done at all age levels. I would like to see schools provide more attention to volunteering. This should be more than just giving students an occasional few hours off class to collect money for a charity.
Students should be able to earn academic awards for their volunteering. A key feature of the new work era is that it will be based on entrepreneurial initiative, and networking and social skills. Practical work as a volunteer will help a student develop those skills.
Also on The Big Smoke
- Altruism: Giving to others in aid of one’s self
- The homeless – A nine-year-old’s guide to helping
- Selfless acts in a world gone mad
At the other end of the age spectrum, you are never too old to be young. Volunteering helps give people a purpose in life, an opportunity to make new friends and keep them engaged with society. The shut-ins should never be the shut-outs. The twilight years should not be spent in darkness.
I have been involved in volunteering for over half a century. It has brought me a wide range of friends and expanded my interests. Some of my employment opportunities have also arisen from volunteering and meeting the right people.
One of the most rewarding experiences is to meet a person one has helped in earlier years and see how well they have flourished. A volunteer can get a real sense of achievement.
A society progresses via acts of senseless kindness.
Jewish House Crisis Centre and The Big Smoke are asking the community in Sydney’s CBD to let us know when you see anyone who may appear to be homeless or need assistance.
By letting us know this information, we can understand in real time the true needs of our City. We will also be providing packs this Christmas to Sydney’s homeless which will include an inflatable bed.
By filling in the form below, you are making a gesture to Sydney’s homeless that you see them and you care about them.