Everyone of us has more or less an idea of how a modern society is built. Its basic structure includes a political system, the production and industrial sector, the public services (for example, health care and education), services known as the tertiary sector, as well as the media and culture section.
Well, perhaps I’m simplifying reality too much but this is more or less what you can find in a city in our contemporary world.
However, there is something important missing on my list, something you cannot count and usually doesn’t make any news in the mainstream media. I’m referring to all those organizations, associations, and institutions that work relentlessly for making this world a better place and rely on voluntary work, on the goodwill of ordinary people who decide to dedicate their free time to something meaningful to them.
Our society proliferates with this kind of initiative and we can really find what better suits our interests and beliefs. If you are into nature, you can easily find organizations founded with the aim to preserve the natural environment or a specific species. If you believe and want to work for a fairer world, there are plenty of movements working for the advancement of human rights at a local or global scale. If you share an interest in arts and culture, think of how many places or groups you can already find in a relatively small city like Turku.
All what I have described has to do with our society’s added value: what makes our community a place worth of living, something as important as an efficient economic system with good job opportunities. This is the reason why influential organizations such as the Red Cross, WWF, Greenpeace, Amnesty International, and so on, are still active after so many years – thanks to the dedication of countless people who have shared their precious time and energy without a financial reward.
The “work of the volunteer” is truly respectful and admirable: a personal choice that makes this world a better place to live. Each of us has a different motivation to start an experience as a volunteer, but the results are always positive and beneficial to society – no matter how big or small, known or not known, direct or indirect is the commitment. You definitely make a difference either by giving your time for an outside walk with dogs from a nearby kennel or by spending two months of your life at a refugee camp in the South of the world.
The amount of time and the type of tasks you can offer doesn’t matter much, because your initiative always carries a potential to create a benefic circuit.
The benefic circuit of the volunteer job in 5 steps.
It’s a known fact that being a volunteer is not beneficial only to the target society or a single organization. It’s beneficial to the person himself/herself.
1) DOING GOOD IS GOOD (ALWAYS!)
It’s proven and guaranteed that doing good is good for our inner self. It makes us feel happier and rewarded! Because if you feel useful for someone in this world your self-esteem will surely bolster.
2) TRY TO VOLUNTEER FOR SOMETHING THAT IS AS CLOSE AS POSSIBLE TO YOUR DREAM JOB.
A voluntary job can create lots of opportunities for the volunteer, especially if you are young and without significant job experiences. It can surely be a way of developing your skills and improve your capabilities to work. Choose an organization/field/institution that is closer to your ideals and interests and consider your voluntary work as a hands-on experience for a future job position. There are many organizations that welcome and allow volunteers to be very independent to contribute with new projects and ideas. Jump on and build up your own experience.
3) NEW IN TOWN? PLENTY OF PLACES WHERE TO FIND NEW FRIENDS.
Arriving in a new place, starting from zero, sometimes with no job or a place to study can be really challenging. An organization that welcomes volunteers can be a good way of making network and new friends. People who join a volunteer group carry out the activities during their free time, and don’t feel the pressure of the official duties. For sure, they are more likely to welcome and be closer to newcomers than in an official working place.
4) OPPORTUNITY OF GAINING CREDITS AND INTERNSHIP PLACES.
Nowadays, many organizations and associations receive school or university students by offering them the opportunity to do an internship or a short-term project. If something like this is required by your school or university programme, start looking at the list of the organizations in your city. They will most likely have a place for you!
5) OPEN YOUR VIEW TO THE OUTSIDE WORLD
Usually associations and organizations that involved volunteers are international even if they just work on a local level. The people involved are often foreigners or with a quite international background and in some they offer the opportunity of experiences abroad.
IN STEPEUROPE YOU CAN HAVE ALL THESE THINGS AT THE SAME TIME!
Well, maybe I’m not the most impartial person to write this but that’s true: StepEurope offers anyone the possibility (1) to be involved as an active citizen and leave a mark in their community through various activities, from the more cultural and informative to the ones with a focus on leisure. Have a look at our range of activities here: http://www.stepeurope.org/local-activities/
You can actively implement your own ideas and project, (2) learning by doing and improving a large range of skills: organizing, leading, marketing, creating, working in team, managing, recruiting new people, establishing contact with partners. Becoming a volunteer is easy: http://www.stepeurope.org/new-get-involved/ (3) If you’re new in Turku, we’re one of the NGOs where to start from: our target group is young adults and over, mainly foreigners, who are willing to meet each other and hang out together. If you’re still struggling with the Finnish language, don’t worry! Our activities and events are mainly in English! Check out our webpage: http://www.stepeurope.org/a/
StepEurope offers the opportunity for students (4) from the University and Vocational School to do their internship with us. If you’re interested, don’t hesitate to contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org. We also offer the possibility for a work-try out period, while you can be with us for a longer term.
Lastly, but not less important, StepEurope is an international organization (5) with the aim of promoting the international mobility abroad for young people through training, study trips, youth exchanges, (very soon) EVS all around Europe.
Are you ready for leaving your mark? We and many other different organizations and associations are waiting for your essential contribution.
Be active. Be involved. Become volunteer.