Bucket List #11: Volunteer
This isn't meant to be preachy or tell you that you need to save the environment. Volunteering isn't just a great thing for the community, it is a great thing for the individual.
Recently, I crossed another number off my 25 Before 25 Bucket List and I volunteered at my local branch for Dress for Success. DFS is a non-profit organization that provides low-income women with clothing, career advice, resume help, and much more to help them get jobs and succeed in their careers.
I wanted to find an organization that I could be passionate about and truly relate to. As a woman who grew up in a lower-income household and worked hard to break into my career, I felt that this was a perfect fit for me. I wanted the opportunity to give back and help others who are as ambitious as I am, but don't have the means to achieve their dreams. DFS helps women reach those goals and I was able to help them do so, which is such an amazing feeling.
Here is why you should volunteer too:
1. It makes you feel good
Volunteering makes you good because you are making a difference. There's no better feeling than knowing you are helping out in your community and serving a purpose. When you see the change you can make in people's lives, or animals if you are working with them, it can be addicting and you will find yourself wanting to keep coming back. Find an organization that you can be passionate about. Whether you love animals or want to help build houses, whatever it is, you should discover something you genuinely care about.
2. It's good for your career
Volunteering doesn't just mean serving food at shelters or picking up trash on the side of the road, there are plenty of non-profits that need help in other areas where you can use the skills you use every day. DFS was in need of social media help and marketing tools for upcoming events that I was able to provide them with different aspects of what I already do in my career to help them reach out to people.
Many millennials are stuck in a place where they have the education but not the experience level to get the job they desire. This is a great way to gain the experience and add to the resume. Employers like to see that you're involved and using your education for a cause. This is also a great way to transition into a new career. If you are interested in a new field, seek out places where you can volunteer in that area and it's a great way to practice those skills and leverage social connections for your job seeking.
3. It teaches you
Even though we are more connected than ever and we can know just by a click of a smart phone everything that is going on across the world, there is still a disconnect of truly understanding the hardships that some people face. Being able to immerse yourself in different cultures and see first-hand the adversity people face, it gives you a new perspective on things and possibly a new appreciation for your own prosperities.
4. It creates relationships and connections
You meet amazing people when volunteering. People who want to help. There is a special bond that you form with others when working alongside one another in support of a cause. These are also people who can provide references for you and may even have connections that can help you in your career.
5. It is great for society
This is the most obvious one, but the most important. You are making a difference. Even the smallest tasks or a short amount of time spent volunteering can really change someone's life. Many organizations rely solely on volunteers to help them survive.
You don't need to spend 15 hours a week or hundreds of dollars donating to charity to enact change. Just giving what you can, even if that is just an hour of time, can matter to someone and that is the most important thing you can do.