In a recent post, I offered some suggestions on how you can advance you life and start pursuing your dream career. One of those suggestions was volunteerism — as a way to get your foot in the door, gain valuable experience doing the very thing you love to do, and as philanthropy.
There’s another type of volunteering out there that has nothing remotely to do with your needs or your future career. It’s called humanitarianism. Generosity. Brotherly Love. This type of volunteer labor isn’t for the faint of heart. And it isn’t for those who are looking for a hand-out in return.
In order to get ahead in this world, I firmly believe in the art of giving back. A couple of weeks ago, I was reminded of the inspiring story of the humanitarian and Roman Catholic Nun, Mother Teresa.
Meet the Legend
According to the Noble Prize website, in 1948 she decided to leave her job as a high school educator, requested to leave her covenant school, and struck out on her own to devote herself to working among the “poorest of the poor” in the slums of Calcutta.
“Although she had no funds, she depended on Divine Providence, and started an open-air school for slum children,” the website said. “Soon she was joined by voluntary helpers, and financial support was also forthcoming. This made it possible for her to extend the scope of her work.”
Many people might think that Mother Teresa was “just a nun,” but after re-evaluating and admiring her life, it’s plain to see that Mother Teresa was a bona fide CAREER WOMAN and a very successful one!
Her office: the slums of Calcutta. Her colleagues: fellow volunteers. Her clients: the poorest of the poor. Her salary: the immeasurable gratification resulting from helping others.
She spent 45 years ministering to the poor, sick, orphaned and dying. Mother Teresa became widely known and acclaimed throughout the world because of her servitude, winning numerous awards and recognition. In 1979, she was awarded The Nobel Peace Prize for Peace.
Will you answer the call to volunteer?
As part of his presidential campaign, and at the onset of his term, U.S. President Barack Obama urged all Americans (and the world in general) to volunteer, support local communities, and to simply work together.
As a part of this initiative, the Corporation for National and Community Service launched and is managing the website Serve.gov. Serve.gov is an online resource for not only finding volunteer opportunities in your community, but also creating your own.
In addition to Serve.gov, there are so many other sites that offer support for individual volunteerism, and that also offer ideas and specific opportunities to give back. I encourage you to check out at least one of the sites from below or at Serve.gov, and make a decision to devote some time to others.
Whether you give back at your church, a local non-profit agency, within your family, or in your neighborhood, make a decision that you will leave a legacy of pure-hearted giving.
Join short-term volunteers in the group’s non-profit network providing long-term, ethical service on a volunteer vacation abroad or a U.S. volunteer program. Live and work with local people on life-affirming service programs for one to six weeks. Click here for more info.
Idealist is a “global clearinghouse of nonprofit and volunteering resources,”offering a directory of volunteer opportunities and other resources. Click here to go directly to their website to find opportunities.
HOPE is a charity “bringing hope to a hurting world” through education, disease control, medical training and care, care for orphans, education and recovery programs. For more on volunteer opportunities, go directly to the site by clicking here.
Habitat for Humanity International
Habitat is a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing organization building simple, decent, affordable housing in partnership with people in need. Volunteer locally or find volunteer programs, by visiting their website. Click here
Big Brothers Big Sisters of America
This organization’s mission is to help children reach their potential through professionally supported, one-to-one relationships with mentors. You too can have a measurable impact on youth, click here for more information.
Volunteers of America
A national nonprofit, spiritually-based organization providing local human service programs and the opportunity for individual and community involvement. To obtain additional information on giving back, click here.
Keep the Discussion Going
Have you volunteered lately? Use the questions below as a guideline and share your story with us in the comments section!
- What was the organization?
- What were you tasked with?
- Did you at first feel hesitant to volunteer? Why or why not?
- After volunteering, how did you feel?
- Will you do it again?
- Has it been a while since you volunteered?
- Do you volunteer on a regular basis? Doing what?
- Have you ever gotten a job (or your dream job) as a result of volunteering?
- Did you discover something new about yourself after volunteering?