​ On volunteering

On volunteering

Almost a year ago I started as a volunteer in an NGO that helps young kids and adolescents in a shantytown. We offer free teaching classes and support in primary and secondary school. Math, physics, history, IT are just some of the matters they can ask for help.

What to expect

Expect the unexpected. Be ready to be moved. Be ready to accept that you may not know what to say or to do in some situations. But above all, be humble.
Every experience will be unique, even inside the same NGO, and that makes the journey so magnificent. You have the power to decide what are you willing to change during the process. Will you be open to new emotions? To new points of view? To recognize that sometimes people just want to be listened without opinion?

What to keep in mind

You are offering help to someone who needs it, that implies some basic considerations:

  • Be completely open in any situation. If you think something is exceeding you, ask for help from your supervisor. You will always have someone to support you.
  • Remember, helping is your main focus. The other must be your focus, not you.
  • Preserve yourself healthy ( mentally and physically). Ask for help if needed. We can't solve everything alone, we are humans.

What you will learn

Theory will turn to facts. Thinking about others needs is not so strong as living the situation by yourself. Your soft skills will improve as long as you keep helping and thinking about what you are doing. Introspective thinking is recommended to ensure you are taking all you can from your experience.

Here are some questions that may help you with your insight process. Read it loudly and write down the answers. The process of writing on a paper will help your brain and body to synchronise.

  • What did I learn today?
  • What situation was positive during my experience?
  • Was any situation uncomfortable? What can I do in the future to face it in a more functional way?
  • What can I do in my next experience to make it better?

If you are reading this line, you almost finished this reading. So, I will ask you one last minute: take your time to think about: how having an experience like this could help you; then decide what to do.

I encourage you to at least try it once. You will learn even with the shortest journey and there will be always someone expressing a deep gratitude.


Photo by Josh Boot / Unsplash