I began volunteering a few months ago during the holidays; I’d always wanted to volunteer but never felt confident enough to do it alone. At first, it seemed like a daunting and time-consuming process that required a high level of organisation I didn’t think I had. But I soon discovered how many opportunities were available to me; hundreds of companies, charities and shops were searching for volunteers right in my area. I also realised that volunteering isn’t just about helping others, but can also be a chance to achieve personal goals. Not only does it make your CV look good for a sixth form or job application, but it also allows you to obtain many skills you can take through your whole life. I’ve been aiming for a 100-hour volunteering award which can be a struggle, but nothing good comes without its challenges, including volunteering. It can sometimes take hours of searching online for the perfect volunteering opportunity that is flexible and suits you; I’ve probably spent more time searching for volunteering roles than actual volunteering! Once I spent hours trying to get a volunteering position at a charity shop only to never get the role. However, it is important never to give up or lose hope – as there are always many other roles to find.
Something important to me is finding roles that are flexible. Since at the moment I’m very busy with home and schoolwork, I’ve particularly enjoyed volunteering for one-off events and speed volunteering – such as being an events cheerer at marathons. I’ve been able to volunteer for amazing charities like the NSPCC and Alzheimer’s Society.
Most recently I volunteered with the NSPCC as an events cheerer at the Colour Run with my friend – we got to cheer on hundreds of marathon runners, some even in pushchairs, whilst throwing coloured powder.
I’d encourage everyone to volunteer, and I have inspired many of my friends to start volunteering as well. You’re able to give back to an organisation that has impacted your life or impact on other people’s lives. I’ve gained confidence and self-esteem since volunteering and have been able to feel valued as part of a team. I started volunteering at fifteen; so no matter how young you are, you can always find somewhere to volunteer. Volunteering is a way to make a mark on the causes you care about and doing good – makes you feel good!