Apart from the fact that volunteering is renowned for skill development and often intended to promote goodness or to improve human quality life, I understand that volunteering is also intended to make contacts for possible employment, opportunities and empowerment.

I remember vividly well when i lost my job earlier last year, 2017. It was honestly disheartening; especially when you think you have everything worked out and the job going smoothly. The disappointment and worry was there. I began to apply for jobs and within two months, i grew weary of not having anything to do and in no time, i became depressed and sorry for myself.

Volunteering has wonderful and enormous advantages.

Volunteering is an act of serving selflessly on behalf of others without being motivated by financial or material gain.

Volunteering helps psychologically and emotionally. When i lost my job, i thought of the best thing to do and be relevant. I began to sign up and apply to some volunteering jobs.To forget being sad and get busy was all that mattered to me… but guess? I got more than what i bargained for! They say: an idle mind is the devil’s workshop. When the mind is busy with resourceful activities, you will find that you are happier than the way you were. In some cases, it makes you appreciate your present situation and drive you into dreaming again. It gives one peace of mind that all hope is not lost.

Volunteering opens one up to multiple skill-sets of experience and exposure. It gives an advantage to working with people from different background for different reasons. You do not get to be paid learning from people. Personally, it seems like a free opportunity to be tutored, groomed and mentored unto excellence. Sometimes, it could feel as though the work load is too much or you feel drained, but it is only a milestone to greater things. One can learn a great deal from volunteering.

Skill development is enhanced. Even if you do not volunteer in the similar field you had experience in, you can have a variety of perception and different ways to approach situations. Volunteering means enhancing yourself and your skill sets to add
value for your own career development and general living. With volunteering, continuous learning is certain. It comes with the right attitude. Attitude to learn, attitude to be emotionally intelligent and attitude to embrace change and new things.

I had a volunteer opportunity some months ago to interview participants and investors for a Hackathon festival. It was my first time ever, but it was surely a wonderful experience because i learnt how to compere, how to interview people on a red carpet and it was a free one getting the experience.

One paramount effect of volunteering is the job opportunities and placements certain to be gotten from the commitments. 65% of interns and volunteers get the chance to be retained or employed full time from the partner companies or organizations they volunteer with. In this situation, your record is kept in their archive as a prospective employee. They can also partner with you for further services (paid services), they would like you to offer. I have an opportunity to serve YALI Africa and one of the advantages of this initiative is the collaboration they have with USAID. USAID have all record of participant profiles from YALI Africa. Assuming USAID needs a form of service in Energy Conservation or Design Analytic, one of the people to be considered for the contract will be someone from YALI Africa who have a background knowledge in Energy Conservation, Design Analytic etc. Volunteering simply opens you up to diverse opportunities. Even if you are not given the chance to be permanently retained, the experience paves way into a profitable job. The experience can help to leverage for an opportunity in the coming years.

Lastly, volunteering is an act of service. Service to people. Service to the community. Service to the world and Service to God. It should come from the heart not considering at first what you stand to gain. Serve because you want and love to. When you serve, people will serve you one way or the other. You are simply creating a platform for better things to come. I have heard a number of success stories where one good turn brought a good fold of another.

Sometimes; it is not easy, but one can create the opportunity. It could be once in a week to volunteer in giving a health orientation talk amongst few people, 6-8 hours in two weeks volunteering for a breast cancer walk, three times a month teaching young ones how to be swim, braid hair etc… Trust me when i say that within one year, i acquired a lot of skills, leadership, got the boldness to face fear and limitations, gained several network from where i could never have imagined, have a wonderful full-time job using the experience i got and most of all, I am happy.

Volunteering is fun. Just serve!

It really pays to.