4 Reasons to Volunteer and Then Reflect Afterword

4 Reasons to Volunteer and Then Reflect Afterword

There are a number of reasons why it’s good to reflect on our volunteer experiences just as there are a number of reasons why people volunteer. Below are reasons why we reflect and why it is an important part of community service.

#4) Reflection and other feedback help organizations provide the best services to the community or constituency.

Charity XYZ specializes in providing free lunch to youth in impoverished neighborhoods throughout major cities in the county during the summer. They do this by sending out volunteer delivery drivers to operate lunchtime food trucks. Charity XYZ has been providing the same service to the same areas for over a decade even after cities have been seeing rapid gentrification.

Now, of course, any charity would be prompted to make changes based on heavily monitored social trends, but who’s to say a positive change wasn’t sparked by feedback from a volunteer truck driver who’s been working in a city known for its low income Latino population when he notices that for the last five years many of the “kids” coming to his truck have been college interns and young stay‑at‑home moms living in the new upscale condos nearby?

Reflection gives us the opportunity to provide organizations with more in‑depth insight on the effectiveness of their volunteer approach.

#3) Serving others helps put your own circumstances into perspective.

It isn’t very kind to downplay anyone’s struggles, but with that said, spending a few hours working with a person who’d feel lucky just to get one meal a day might make that super cool iPhone upgrade seem a little less significant. It is widely understood that we don’t realize how fortunate we are until we witness others who are experiencing much worse. Reflection helps reiterate this idea.

Sometimes volunteering isn’t always about privilege‑checking. Sometimes our lives can be really stressful or totally uneventful and volunteering may provide a therapeutic escape. Reflection may help you realize this and prompt you to volunteer more!

#2) Reflection helps keep us humble.

Imperfection is a part of being human. Not everyone is out to help others and, likewise, not every do‑gooder is a saint. It would be easy to assume that anyone willing to devote their time and energy to a good cause has to be completely selfless, virtuous and wise. That isn’t always the case.

Many reflection surveys ask volunteers what they’ve learned or how their experience has inspired them. It is important for people to understand that serving others is a mutual learning experience. We work on ourselves when we work on others.

In addition to helping the community, volunteering and non‑for‑profit work is a great way to build skills, knowledge AND your resume. This is all great, but issues in the community don’t cease just because Jenny finally got into that Sociology Ph.D. program on the other side of the country. It’s called ‘community service’ because it’s about the community.

#1) Doing good can make you feel so good that you HAVE to share it with someone.

This reason is hard to explain if you’ve never gone out and worked in your community. Community service is just as much worth the Facebook and Instagram share as that trip to the beach or a night out with friends. Whether you were required or you signed up by choice, there’s nothing like the feeling you get from doing something good and productive.

Reflecting opens up the opportunity to connect with like‑minded individuals and teach others about the benefits of volunteering.

My Interests Include Musical Theatre, Vegan Cooking and Adult Coloring…

My Interests Include Musical Theatre, Vegan Cooking and Adult Coloring…

You’d think that headline would test better than it has on dating sites, but it seems that there’s still a number of folks needing to experience the joy of adult coloring. I recently Columbused* adult coloring a few months ago whilst searching for constructive activities for me and one of my patients (who was mentally ill) to do together. We started out with the your standard Mandala and finished the entire book in three days. Coloring helped a lot with my patient’s nerve condition as well as helping her to open up more and trust me. I became known as the “aide with the coloring books”, and that was fine, I was such a good aide, I got a promotion (dusts off  scrubs).

 

Currently, I’m finishing up I Love My Hair by Andrea Pippens. Coloring this book is not only  a great way to spend lunch breaks, but it helped me tap into my creativity, something I felt was dwindling as I transitioned back into an office working environment. I started out only coloring realistically with maybe a splash of something different. But then Marie Antoinette’s signature pouf  became an elegant web of every cool color in my Premier 24 Pack and my life suddenly became more interesting.

 

Now I take my book and colored pencils everywhere with me. I think sitting in a waiting room or a bus stop is healthier time spent with your head buried in a coloring project rather than your eyes glued to your phone. Adult coloring books bring that balance into our lives. Below are some pictures I finished while on sitting alone in a file closet at work (introvert heaven).

20160510_150035[1]

20160414_160818[1]

My next “coloring project” will be swear word coloring books. Words do not express my excitement for this endeavor. This is not a drill, folks.

*I use this word quite often.

Think Like a Hero : Do you share the same learning styles as your favorite superhero? Possibly!

Think Like a Hero : Do you share the same learning styles as your favorite superhero? Possibly!

Based on how this learning style inventory describes these seven different ways of learning, here is how some of your favorite heroes and heroine might be categorized.

Mighty-Morphin-PowerRangers

Visual or Spatial (learning with the help of imagery)

Spider-Man – In addition taking pictures for a living, Spidey spends a lot of time people watching from the top of New York’s skyscrapers. That’s a great way to snoop out criminals, locate kittens who may need rescuing…or, learn what Gwen Stacy’s favorite new restaurant is. 

 

Aural (learning with the help of music or sound)Mikeys pizzas

Michaelangelo – As the free-spirited and fun-loving brother of the Ninja Turtle bunch, Mikey’s fluidity and colorful personality meshes well with that of an aural learner. If Drake put out one of those 90s style math hip-hop albums, no question this ninja’s mom is buying it.

 

Verbal (if it’s written or spoken, you get it)

Hermione Granger – Harry and Ron would be completely lost without her. Many consider her twice the magic maker as The Boy Who Lived. Part of what made her such a smart and skilled witch was her genuine love of reading. Spell books, potion recipes, newspapers, you name it. She was always reading ahead, even to some professors irritation. Reading will forever be fundamental.

 

Physical or Kinesthetic (you’re a hands-on learner who probably can’t sit still)

Zack Taylor , the Black Ranger – Before that brief period when Zac Efron was a pop star, there was Zack, the original Black Ranger. He was famous for his saving folks, practicing martials arts with his buddy, Jason, and more importantly, his dance moves. He is what I like to call a “master of movement”. 

 

Solitary (you need some time to think it over…alone)

Batman – Obviously.

 

Social (brinCookg oooon the group work)

Natalie Cook – So what makes this Charlie’s Angel a social learner? She’s smart bubbly and is a real people person. One could bet that she was really into group work in school.

 

 

 

Logical or Mathematical (objective, calculating, by the book)

Blossom – You just wait until the Powerpuff Girls graduate from college, Reed Richards. Blossom might have the smarts to…well, at least intern for you while she’s working on her master’s. She is the “Commander and the Leader” of the trio and is usually the one resolving conflicts between her sisters, kicking butt, strategizing missions and following all the rules. That definitely takes a sharp, logical and objective mind.

Knowing your individual learning styles is useful in and out of the classroom. Learn more here.