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Why Should You Volunteer to Find Yourself?

Does having a full wallet help you find yourself in this life?

What if we value our time more than we value our money? That could be a wholly different philosophy of life.

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By valuing our time, we realize not just that life is short, but that every moment we let slip away during our haste or procrastination, we miss out on so many potentially enriching experiences.

What if you could combine learning about your passions and abilities with earning blessings from your time? This is why you should volunteer to find yourself

“Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.” – Howard Zinn

Worrying trends show that the spirit of community service may be in decline.

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A report from the University of Maryland Do Good Institute shows rates of volunteering among Americans have dropped to a 15-year low. Thirty-one states are experiencing critical dips, and no state shows an increase. 

We often associate volunteering as a youthful pastime, though the age group that tends to volunteer the most is 35 to 54.

Despite the fact that young people in high school engage in extracurricular activities to make their college applications more competitive, during their college years, the rates for volunteering quickly fall.

This is unfortunate since studies show that volunteer experience can increase your prospects on the job market. 

Why Should You Volunteer to Find Yourself? - About Islam

It is somewhat counterintuitive to mention the personal benefits of volunteering since it is essentially supposed to be service without any expectation of reward.

But here are three quick reasons why, if you are young and have time to spare, volunteering may be worth your while.

1- Stepping Out of Your Comfortzone

Many young people are told by society to consider a narrow and fixed career track from an early age.

This conservative approach restricts us to a limited range of possibilities.

Volunteering is an easy and risk-free way to contribute towards the social good while also exposing ourselves to different areas outside our comfort zone. 

Sometimes, this exposure leads to long-term passions. As someone who helps run an urban farm, I can’t tell you how many bankers or engineers I have met who volunteered at a community garden once and ended up becoming full-time farmers.

When you work in an office, often the only thing that connects you to your colleague is the fact that you walk on the same piece of carpet.

When you join other volunteers, what is connecting you together is a shared passion for the activity you have dedicated yourself to. 

Why Should You Volunteer to Find Yourself? - About Islam

It is a great atmosphere for building lifelong friendships between empathic individuals.

Depending on where you volunteer, you can gain awesome life skills for free while giving others a hand.

The most immediate skill is social communication, which allows you to develop self-confidence when speaking with others in a less pressured environment.

2- Find Something Near

Volunteering at a women’s shelter, for example, would be an ideal opportunity to learn how to listen with intent and know if you have the guts to counsel others.

Volunteering to help promote causes like cancer awareness can teach you important skills in branding and digital marketing. The options are endless. 

If you are looking for a place to start, it is best to look next door.

Your local community center or college normally has dedicated volunteer programs that you can peruse.

3-International Volunteering

If you want to venture even more outside your comfort zone, then you could consider volunteering internationally.

An organization I would highly recommend checking out for global volunteer placement is AIESEC, the largest youth-run volunteer NGO in the world.

Don’t take too long though; precious memories await you on your volunteer journey ahead!

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The article is from the archive.

About Saqib Sheikh
Saqib Sheikh is a media lecturer by trade and writer by passion. A Pakistani-American, he also serves as Project Director for the Rohingya Project, an initiative on financial inclusion for stateless Rohingya worldwide, and manager for Urban Hijau, a sustainable urban farm located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.