Photography can be used as a way to document and showcase the impact volunteering has. To be a volunteer is to do good. Take your camera along and share your experiences.
Volunteering can be defined as a philanthropic activity that aims at helping out the needy. Since it’s philanthropic, thus, people volunteer without expecting any money or reward. Volunteering can be done individually as well as on the behalf of an organization or group. Students are encouraged to volunteer in different social activities. The purpose of this is to inculcate a sense of altruism in them. In some academic institutions, volunteering is even a part of the degree. Students must complete the set amount of hours while volunteering for an activity. In most of the cases, it is a mandatory part of the degree. Such academic formalities promote goodness among students.
HISTORY OF VOLUNTEERING
The history of volunteering is as old as mankind itself. The man has always been a social animal. We interact with others for our survival in a habitat. In this interaction, we sometimes help others or even take help from them. Hence the cycle of volunteering goes on. However, the word volunteer was first coined in the 16th Century where it was meant for someone who presents himself for military services. Later on, the word was also used for non-military purposes. The formal records of volunteering as a collective activity dates back to the 19th century. During the Great Awakening of America, a lot of youngsters volunteered to help the needy in their communities. In the same century, during the American Civil War, a lot of women volunteered to sew supplies for the soldiers. After this, many volunteering activities were noticed, for instance, the American Red Cross. The awareness of this altruism increased with the upcoming years. Nowadays, volunteering is also referred to as Community Service.
AGE LIMIT FOR VOLUNTEERING
As a matter of fact, there is no fixed legal age for volunteering. However, most of the volunteering campaigns allow people who are at least 18 years old or above. This has a reason. When you involve minors in a volunteering campaign, you have to seek permission from their parents. There are many other things that also need to be considered. For example, the labor hours for which a minor is allowed to work. You also have to take care that there is no liability for injury or any sort of harm in the volunteering activity you are hiring them for. With all these problems, most of the volunteering campaigns prefer adults with an age of 18 years or above. Some volunteering activities also set an age limit because of the type of skill they require. Of course, you can’t hire a minor to make them lift 200lb boxes or ask them to write a research paper of 30 pages. For such tasks, obviously, some skilled or professional person is required.
However, this doesn’t mean that there are no volunteering campaigns for minors between the ages of 12-16. Of course, there are but they come with certain limitations. There are even supervision problems while working with them. Still, they can work in a lot of activities. For instance, cleaning up a community, packing food for dogs, planting trees et cetera. Some people believe that even children below the age of 13 can also participate in volunteering. From a very young age, they can be taught to contribute something in the community. They can always participate in charity by donating their toys, old books, stationery items et cetera. So you see there is no fixed age limit. As a matter of fact, anyone can contribute a little in the society. You don’t really have to be an adult for that. Children and senior citizens are always welcomed to contribute according to their strength.
IMPORTANCE OF VOLUNTEERING
Volunteering is one of those things that bring people together. It enriches society by spreading a sense of responsibility among each individual. Volunteering is an integral part of a community. It is our moral responsibility to utilize our skills, wealth or strength to help the needy. It’s a natural cycle to give what we have to the ones below us. That is how wealth or skills circulate in society. Above all, volunteering inculcates a sense of belongingness in individuals of the community. Photographing your volunteer service can show others the impact being made. Photographs have the ability to help conserve wildlife.
BENEFITS OF VOLUNTEERING
Volunteering makes us a better individual, a better society and a better example for the rest of the world. Though it apparently seems that volunteering is all about giving. However, you also receive much by giving to others. It helps us become a morally better person. It arises a sense of altruism is us. The happiness and satisfaction that you get by helping others have no match in this world. Volunteering reduces your stress by enabling you to connect with the ones around you. It is also a way of gaining confidence and believing in your skills. Volunteering has been reported to help you cope up with depression. It also makes us physically healthy as we keep on engaging in different types of physical works. For instance, cleaning a beach, repairing a tourist spot, delivering goods et cetera. Last but not least, volunteering gives us a sense of purpose in our life. Life is nothing without helping the ones around us. It is all about connecting with the needy!
TYPES OF VOLUNTEERING ACTIVITIES
There are a bunch of different types of volunteering activities that you can get involved in. let’s discuss some of the very common types:
- Natural Disasters
Natural disasters like earthquakes, floods, hurricanes et cetera form the most common type of volunteering events. You can always go to such places and help the local population by providing them food, clothes or medicines. You can also help them in building a shelter that they have lost in the disaster.
- Drought and Famines
Droughts and Famines can be categorized as types of natural disasters. Here again, you can help the victims by providing them food and clean water. Try to deliver food items that are less likely to stale or get expired soon. Processed food can be a great option for this. Also, think about delivering fruits with higher water content that can help them cope with the drought conditions in their area. Watermelons or citrus fruits can be good examples of this.
- Abuse Against Women
Look around yourself and you will find many women as a victim of physical or emotional abuse. The first step here is awareness. Begin with educating them that they must say no to abuse. Encourage them to get out of any sort of relationship that is damaging to their physical or emotional health. If you have any experience in counseling, you can always use it to get those women back on the track of a healthy and happy life. You can even help them in seeking legal advice or supporting them financially to file a case against their abuser.
- Preventing Illness
There can be many epidemic diseases where you can help by spreading awareness among people. Malaria, dengue, swine flu et cetera are some of the examples of such diseases. Doctors can especially volunteer in such situations where the greatest thing can be treating the patients for free. You can also initiate awareness campaigns to teach the local population about different strategies for preventing the disease.
Helping someone financially can also be a great way of volunteering. In every society, there are some people who can hardly make their both ends meet. In a direct way, you can provide them money. You can also help them indirectly by doing their work and not taking any fee. You can even gift them something that they are in need of so that they don’t have to spend their money.
Environmental pollution has increased to alarming levels. Global warming, ozone depletion, climate changes, etc. can create serious havoc in the coming years. Look up for different volunteering campaigns that work against environmental pollution. Register yourself for them and bring a change in society. You can also volunteer individually by cleaning the beaches, parks, streets et cetera. Ask your friends and family to help you with this. A great way of helping in this regard can be by spreading awareness. Educate not only the children but also the adults to keep the society clean. Make them participate in planting campaigns. Guide them to use only environmentally friendly products. Also, ask them to avoid non-biodegradable kinds of stuff as much as they can.
This is one of the most primitive types of volunteering activities. In the past, men used to volunteer themselves to participate in the war and protect the sufferers against it. Volunteering in war situations is still needed nowadays. If you are a doctor, you can volunteer for treating the injured. You can also feed soldiers and victims by delivering them food and water on a daily basis. Another great thing can be delivering the supplies needed for the defense in the war.
Volunteering is a great way of connecting with the people around you. It helps you to get familiar with the problems in your society. It is our moral responsibility to help the people in need. Volunteering makes us a better individual as we practice altruism.