Volunteering has always been something that brings me a different kind of joy. Knowing that the little effort I put in can equate to a significant impact on someone else’s life was always mind-blowing. This thought has kept me going, serving as a reality check, and reminding me of how privileged I am. Spending my time helping others has always been and will continue to be something that keeps me going.
I remember my first volunteering opportunity; I was completely clueless about what I was getting into. All I knew was that it was for a school requirement. The night before, I was scrolling through the list of options they had provided us, trying to find the most interesting one I could. I landed on ‘Bread Runner’. Having no idea what the opportunity entailed and simply based on its peculiar name, I decided to sign up for it.
Over the course of a few months, I would go from bakery to bakery every other week, collecting the surplus of bread that otherwise would have been thrown out at the end of the day. And after about an hour or two of rummaging, we’d all gather at the collection point, creating little bread packages that would then be handed out in the morning –my favourite part. Being greeted with smiles radiating with appreciation, gratitude and happiness as we handed them the bread packages always made me melt. From this moment, I made it a point to volunteer as often as possible.
Since then, I’ve volunteered with a handful of organizations like the Zubin Foundation, Amnesty International and so on. From volunteering on-site or virtually, directly or indirectly, with beneficiaries from all walks of life, I knew that this is something I loved and wanted to keep doing. And while the work I did played an impactful role in the lives of others, it has also played an important role in my own life.
Many view volunteering as a selfless act, where one spends their free time helping others while expecting and getting nothing in return. And while that is definitely in part true, I would argue that I, too, have gained so much from volunteering, making it more than just a one-way street. Volunteering has not only connected me with so many individuals and fellow volunteers who share the same vision as me but has provided me with a sense of community. It has increased my communication and leadership skills. It has exposed me to many opportunities and provided me with many experiences that have left me with lifelong memories. Being able to achieve all this while knowing that the work I am putting in and the hours I am spending are benefiting someone who really needs it is an incredible feeling that I just cannot explain.
And if craving these experiences of wanting to help others while also helping myself makes me a serial volunteer. Then, yes, I am without a doubt a serial volunteer.
— Blog by Harshita Jhaveri, Intern, ConnectFor.