What you need to know to start volunteering

January 30, 2015

From wildlife conservation to teaching children, there are so many ways to volunteer and give back to the community we live in.

What you need to know to start volunteering

Volunteering is the philanthropic act of giving back to society with an open heart. From wildlife conservation to teaching children, there are so many ways to give back to the community we live in. Sure, there's something for everyone who cares, but it's essential to pick suitable volunteer work that matches your interests.

Reasons to volunteer

Volunteering is a great way to meet new people who share common interests. Volunteers come together when they offer selfless service to those who need it the most by assisting the underprivileged and the helpless. Regardless of the motivation, those who have the courage and big heart to offer service without any return will certainly earn a sense of self-worth and respect — not to mention the invaluable skill development. The skill a volunteer acquires during a project is priceless.

How to pick suitable volunteer work

Picking suitable volunteer work can be tricky and time consuming. There are many opportunities for volunteer service all over the world. Picking what works best for an individual requires some introspection. Determining the reason and motivating factor behind volunteering is the first step to deciding the type of work one is willing to offer. If someone gravitates towards animals, they'll probably do better volunteering in a local animal welfare organization. If someone is gifted in art, they can teach art to the children in their local community. If someone is great with the older population, delivering meals to the elderly or giving them rides to appointments would be a good fit.

Where to go

Once you have identified a line of work, go online to match your interests with available opportunities in your community or abroad. The Canadian Red Cross also offers a wide range of volunteer opportunities. One can engage and often learn valuable skills from programs such as First Aid and CPR, which can come in handy anytime.

Volunteering not only gives one a chance to explore different skills, but it brings together people from all walks of life with a common purpose that is to help and share for the well-being of our society.

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