Volunteering: Help Others And You Help Yourself

Writing

They say the best way to feel better about yourself is through helping others. And in no act is this more clear than that of  voluntary work.

‘Volunteering’ can refer to a smorgasboard of activities. Whether you simply take an old dear’s chihuahua out for a walk or wash the windows for your neighbour, the task at hand is not the focus, it is the act of simply doing something for someone else without the expectation of something in return from them. Yet, ironically what you do get in return surpasses any materialistic or monetary transaction tenfold over, doing something selflessly brings true merit.

*Studies have proven this to be true.

Towards the end of last year I found myself struggling with esteem in some areas of my life. This absence was, in effect, creating a presence of self-doubt and worthlessness. Deciding enough was enough I took action and sought to find a way to boost my self-esteem, I started looking for a charity to be a part of.

As much as each charity serves an important purpose, for me, children’s charities have resonated with me on a personal level. Everyone should have the right to an enjoyable childhood, as studies show,  a difficult childhood can manifest itself into a disastrous adulthood. So I think anyway to support children’s well-being and development is a great thing to do.

The charity I volunteer at in particular supports children with additional needs – autism, Down’s Syndrome for example. The charity creates a safe space for them to simply be children. We play sports and other activities which gives them 3 hours of fun and their parents some free time.

Although physically and emotionally tiring, the rewards of seeing them enjoy themselves and then find that I myself am smiling by the end of it is evidence of just how much I get from volunteering.

I would strongly suggest that if you ever feel down about yourself or even if you have a bit of spare time, perhaps give volunteering a go. You never know what it could give you in return.

What Do You Take For Granted?

Writing

I recently started volunteering at a charity for children with additional needs.  The charity provides free sports and activity sessions to give these children the opportunity to play and have fun as any child should have the right to do. 

 

Having only attended  a moderate number of session so far I can already feel that volunteering is making an impact on me. 

 

I come away from the sessions with so many feelings and questions. 

 

I asked myself on the train heading away from the venue this week – are the children trapped in their own little worlds, or have they escaped the chaos of mine?

 

They won’t experience the world in the way I do, but as my sister rightly said, they may be happy in their life. If born the way they are then they know no other way of living so how can they miss  or be annoyed at not having another way of living? A point I could not disagree with,

 

Volunteering is a humbling experience, I realise how much I may take for granted. If you can read what I’m writing right now then you are privileged as there are still 750 million illiterate adults across the world today. If you can understand these words in English then you are within 20% of the world’s population that can.

 

This is not me trying to play top trumps, I’m not saying that because you and I can read and another person cannot, this makes us better than them, not at all., I simply mean our ability to read is almost taken for granted, we think nothing of it to read signs and books, yet somewhere else in the world a person cannot do this. 

 

We live in a society of ‘I want more, more, more’, we always want more money, more friends, more holidays. And we forget to notice our most fundamental abilities, we take these privileges for granted: talking, listening, reading, writing. All taken for granted. 

 

Being a charity volunteer is a humbling experience, bringing with it an appreciation, a gratitude for many factors of my life which I may have ashamedly overlooked previous to this. Maybe our own lives would be alot happier if we focused on being thankful for the simple things instead of material things.  

Today = My Birthday Annnnnnd Nobody Cares

Writing

I think back to how my mother must have felt 24 years ago, spread eagle, screaming ‘get this baby out of me’! The exorcism had nothing on my delivery I’m sure. Yet despite being the best possible gift my parent’s could have ever received on the Eve of Christmas, the passing of time certainly helps them forget this.

 

Nowadays, I’m lucky if I even get a card never mind a present, any I do get are always sent to me second class anyway. Christmas hasn’t always been that bad in all fairness.  Sometimes I’d get to sit on Santa’s knee in the local Mall that little bit longer, which come to think of it, I may not have been that ‘lucky’ afterall.

Don’t get me wrong their are some positives to being born during the most festive time of the year, like getting double the presents from friends at school (not from my parents, they always did the dirty deal of 1 present  does both days), getting to open presents one day earlier than my siblings, and…….I forgot to mention – getting presents! Whoever said quality over quantity must’ve had a rough childhood, or atleast a rough Christmas as a child. Yes, I was a needy child,  there was a time where if I thought my sister got one extra gift than I did I would tear down the Christmas tree, put stones in the snowballs I threw at her and poke her in the eye during the annual Christmas family photo. I did not play!

But oh how times have changed, and with age has my materialistic heart well and truly mellowed, list of gifts now only amount to 5 pages and not the usual ten, many items of which are on sale now if you hurry. It’s true, Christmas is not only about the joy of giving but the pure ecstasy felt when receiving those brand new bright blue suede shoes!

What gift are you most ecstatic about this year? Please tell me your birthday isn’t on Christmas Eve too?!

Have a very Merry Christmas – from one materialistic Muppet to another!