When I arrived at Sainsbury’s at 9am on a Saturday morning to be told I was the only volunteer that day, I knew it was totally down to me how good or bad this day was about to go – but as I’ve preached before, volunteering is about getting out of your comfort zone, so I grabbed some flyers and got going.
Here are 5 things I took away from the day…
A smile goes a long way
Too many people under-estimate the power of a good smile, as soon as someone walked through those electric doors I was throwing my cheesiest grin their way – not only did this force them to smile back but it also opened them up for a conversation.
Haters gonna’ hate
About half an hour into my shift an old guy popped the ‘C’ at me, (no not that ‘C’ word) – he called me a “chugger”. At first I felt offended, then I started laughing to myself. I had got out of bed to help collect food for those in need, that was my priority. So I brushed my feelings to one side and reminded myself that ‘haters gonna’ hate!’
It’s a numbers game
Like many things in life it can all be reduced to simple mathematics. Of the 100s of people that walked through those doors, 90% of the ones I made the effort to speak to donated, whereas only around 5% who instead picked up a basket that I had sneakily placed a leaflet in did. Going the extra mile puts the odds in your favour.
Always see the good in people
It’s easy to get bogged down with the negatively the media likes to throw at us. But by doing things like volunteering you get to experience what the actual reality is. The weekend reminded me that there are a whole lot of good people out there and it’s those people who give me motivation.
You’re never too small to make a difference
I’m a huge believer in collaboration but my shift for Fare Share UK also showed me that if the situations calls it’s ok to be the one man band.. For my four hours of volunteering I was making noise alone, raising awareness of food poverty in our own back yard. I didn’t fill my allocated crate, I did maybe a quarter. But that was 250 meals that someone who I’ll never meet, who is worse off than me will appreciate.
And isn’t that the beauty of volunteering?
Our round-up of the top opportunities added to vinspired.com this week. Get them while they’re hot!
2) Funny: Prostate UK need volunteers to help out at one of their 5k or 10k Mo Runs.
3) Dance: British Red Cross are looking for volunteer for their dance competition for young people.
4) Loud: Join the Parkinson’s UK Brighton Marathon cheering squad!
5) Debate: Idea is looking for young people to contribute their opinions on the European Union to project debate@europe.
6) Cute: Volunteers needed to help look after rescued hedgehogs. Need we say more?
7) Befriend: Reach Out Plus are looking for volunteer to befriend young people with disabilities.
8) Speak: YPFI wants volunteers to support young disabled people to speak up on issues that matter to them.
9) Community: The Co-operative Academy of Manchester are holding a Fun Bingo Evening supporting members of the community.
10) Food: Be part of the UK’s biggest ever food drive with Fare Share UK & Sainsburys’ Million Meal Appeal.
Have we missed out your top volunteering opportunity? Post a comment below to tell us about it.4 are bypass Apple it other allowed unlock iphone 3g as same risk use case as and question reigns
Today marks the 143rd Birthday of Mahatma Gandi, one of the world’s greatest leaders.
In celebration, here are his top 10 fundamentals for changing the world to help inspire those who volunteer and believe they can change things for the better:
1) Change yourself
2) You are in control
3) Forgive & let it go
4) Without action you aren’t going anywhere
5) Take care of this moment
6) Everyone is human
8) See the good in people and help them
9) Be congruent, be authentic, be your true self
10) Continue to grow and evolve
Find volunteering opportunities at vinspired.com
Before diving into a volunteering opportunity, it’s often useful to take a quick step back and think about how your efforts are going to be worthwhile and rewarding.
Here are our 5 key things to consider to get the most out of any volunteering…
Do something you love
It’s easy to think “I’ll volunteer because vInspired said it was a good thing to do,” only to find yourself helping drunk people back to their feet on a Saturday night followed by a quick change of heart. Instead, before applying for an opportunity, ask yourself: “do I feel strongly about this particular problem or issue?” That way, not only will you be motivated, you’ll also make more impact on those you are helping.
Think about yourself
But volunteering is meant to be a selfless act I hear you say? Well yes, but volunteering is and should always be a two way thing. It’s about doing good for others and yourself. So, before you apply for any opportunity think about how you’re going to help others, but also don’t be afraid to ask yourself: ‘what am I going to get from this experience?’. Write a list of things you want to achieve and don’t be afraid to contact the organiser to find out whether they can meet your requirements.
Make new connections and network
Whilst volunteering, every person you meet is an open door. I’m not saying go and speak the ears off everyone, but making a good impression is essential, and establishing fresh contacts can open whole new worlds of possibility. And once the opportunity is over, always add those you meet on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. If, like many young people, you’re using volunteering to find a job, referrals are one of the top sources for hiring. Those new connections you’ve made? Somewhere down the line, they could help you realise your ambitions.
Get out of your comfort zone
Eleanor Roosevelt said “Do one thing every day that scares you.” Volunteering is a great way to push yourself to the limit – and realise your own personal potential. By getting out of your comfort zone not only will you become more comfortable with taking risks, you’ll also move much faster towards your goals. It also feels great to know that you’re doing something that most people are not!
Keep it up
Before you sign up to a volunteering opportunity make sure you figure out exactly how much time you can realistically commit. That way, you are more likely to keep it up, grow as a person and ensure that you can get your regular fix of feeling good.
Have you got any other tops tips for making the most of your volunteering experience? Share them below in the comments section.
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It’s four weeks since Do Something UK’s #ReverseRiots campaign took over the Reeves furniture store to celebrate the great achievements of young people in the UK. The campaign has involved over five and a half thousand young people to date. They have actively challenged the negative perceptions of young people that had been created by the riots.
Much of the success of this campaign comes down to the super celebs who showed their commitment and support throughout. We thought we’d give them a shout out and re-share our top five favorite celeb tweets from the campaign so far…
Leading by example (get it?) What a top guy!
Adding a splash of glamour the beautiful Paloma Faith!
No other than the godfather of social media lending a helping hand.
A big shout out by a huge believer in the power of the youth.
And he is a role model for thousands of young people.
It’s not too late
There is still time to show your support and stand up for young people – Head over to http://www.reverseriots.com/ to WIN prizes and share the positive things you do!
Apart from being yet another great addition to the already successful franchise, there are some timely moral questions within the The Dark Knight Rises.
What does the film also tell us about the nature of volunteers?
Last week I was lucky enough to go to the premiere of The Dark Knight Rises at the IMAX cinema.
The need to create clean renewable energy and highlighting the importance of not neglecting the less privileged young are two key themes at the moral heart of this film; two prominent issues in society today.
So what lessons can volunteers take from Batman’s altruistic ethos?
Here are my top 5 shared traits between Batman and volunteers. Traits we could all do with adopting to make the world a little better…
1: Batman never gives up
It’s easy to get hung up when that job you applied for tells you “you don’t have enough experience” or you didn’t make the grades to get on that course you really wanted to do. You can either sit back and accept the situation or you can do what Batman does best and remind yourself that “Being defeated is only temporary. Giving up is what makes it permanent!”
2: Batman feels responsible
Everybody is aware of the ills in society today but there’s a big difference between those who know and those who actually do something about it. Batman, like volunteers always feels responsible.
Could you imagine a world where 7 billion people feel responsible? Volunteers can.
3: Batman doesn’t look for praise
Batman, like volunteers goes out of his way to make other people’s lives safer, happier and more fulfilling. And just like the Dark Knight, volunteers are often hidden behind a “mask” – doing good things all-around us but don’t go shouting about it and don’t always get the recognition they deserve. Volunteers are society’s true heroes in disguise.
4: Batman embraces technology
Lucius Fox constantly hooks Batman up with the latest gadgets to help him tackle crime and make Gotham a safer place. In real life we’ve already got one of the greatest pieces of technology of all time – the internet! Volunteers embrace the internet not only by watching Cats doing funny things but by using social media and apps to nudge the world in the right direction (just check out reverseriots.com for example).
5: Batman is just bad-ass!
Batman, like our volunteers, is simply bad-ass. Both give up their time, concentration and determination, the most valuable attributes they own, to make the world a little better.
Story telling has been around for centuries. Ancient folk tales and fairy tales were first told by gifted tellers intended to relate meaning to people’s daily lives. But in modern times, with the abundance of television programmes and streams of online content it seems that traditional stories, in the form of books, are dying out…
A recent study shows that 1 in 3 children don’t own a book and 25% don’t believe reading is that important. Who cares about dungeons and dragons when 74% of young people have internet access at home and can learn everything they need with a simply Google search! But what effect is this having on our society?
When I was a kid I loved Greek mythology. My favourite story was Theseus and Minotaur. At the time, it was no more than a story about a warrior killing a beast hidden in a maze but after exploring the psychology of storytelling as part of my dissertation I learnt it was so much more.
Theseus was my hero. He was courageous and caring but most of all wise enough to know that defeating the Minotaur required planning – a great life lesson (He also didn’t fall for the pretentious princess.)
Stories are a metaphorical crash dummy for life. They teach children lessons about greed, about love but best of all it allows the child to see what the consequences of an action might be. They allow us to play with ideas.
Bruno Bettelheim; states in his book ‘The uses of enchantment’:
“The child identifies with the hero not because of their goodness, but because the hero’s condition makes a deep positive appeal to him.”
A child who doesn’t read books is robbed of the wisdom that a story can offer. Television creates the images for a child whereas a book allows the child to mould his own story; one that best suits his or her own concerns. My Theseus is not the same as yours.
It’s easy to tell a child being bullied at school that he should go and tell a teacher or confront the bully himself but this is likely to cause more stress. Instead, read him a tale where a relatable character overcomes an impossible task and he may just gain some courage of his own.
Our Team v leaders are helping young people all round the country to embrace reading in order to improve their literacy skills. Literacy is vital in all aspects of life but for me it’s the fantasy therapy that is of most value and not just restricted to children.
What’s your favourite childhood story and why? Leave a comment below!
Watch Team v’s latest video on their latest campaign to change the world through literacy and storytelling:
Find out more about how to get involved in World Book Night.
The National Young Volunteers Service
Welcome to the vInspired blog! Keep updated with the latest news, volunteering tips and advice and hear about great opportunities on vinspired.com. This is also a space for young volunteers to share their experiences and express views on the things that matter to them. Want to write here? Email your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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