It is simple, volunteering is rewarding.
This week, I started volunteering with a fantastic organisation in Brussels. Volunteering again has reminded me of all the amazing volunteer opportunities I have had.
In general, I have volunteered with charities that offer free legal advice and support to those in need. I have worked with children, young people, adults and families. Working with these people, through offering advice and support I learnt that volunteering with people, in any form, is not just about offering legal advice or a service but it is about being there for this person. Offering them your time to talk and to listen.
Doesn’t everyone deserve that?
You will sit with a friend for hours when their heart is broken. You will relive their experience through conversation and you will listen. You will support them. I – having a natural problem solving mind – also like to add my two-pence-piece and try to help them resolve or heel.
My Nanny Joyce always said to me “stand up, brush your shoulders and start again” or as Jay-Z put it “brush that dirt off your shoulders”.
However, you cannot simply give that advice to a young person who has been trafficked to the UK, who faces a life without their family and the challenges of growing up, growing up alone in a foreign country – maybe even a country that does not want them. You cannot tell a woman who was beaten by her partner that “he is in the past” and that she should simply “start again”. It is deeper than that. But by being there and listening, you are helping. In a world where everything moves so fast, it is nice to have someone who listens to you. Whatever the problem.
Here are some organisations in the UK that may make your consideration to volunteer a reality. There are thousands more charities that welcome all kinds of help. They are in your local area and community. I urge you to find one that suits you and how you can help.
Age UK – spend some time with elderly who are alone;
The Trussell Trust – while doing your shopping, pick up some extra loo roll, cereal and tinned food and donate to those in need; I have not had direct involvement with the Trussell Trust but at my place of work in London we raised money through a cake sale to donate to Southwark Foodbank – food donations also welcome;
British Heart Foundation – Donate, fundraise or volunteer (perhaps also gaining some retail experience);
Just for Kids Law – I recommend this charity to any Law Student based in London and those who are Qualified;
Law Centre/Citizens Advice Bureau – in your local area, Lawyers can provide advice at drop-ins and students can support the daily running of the organisation; n.b. these organisations also provide free legal advice!
I would like to add – volunteering comes in every form, maybe it is waitressing for free at a charity gala, donating items to a charity auctions or at a charity shop, raising money by sleeping on the streets, at a bake sale or running a 5KM. They are all brilliant.
I bet it was also rewarding.