Being a twenty-something, we all know that this is a period that molds our identity. So, professionally, we persist to stay late at the office in front of our computer screens with multiple rounds of coffee just to set ourselves apart in the new project we acquired. Personally, we may buckle down and assess our dating habits to question ourselves in terms of what we truly want and if we are on the path towards it. Concisely put, there is a laser focus on ourselves that causes us to neglect the world around us. Just like you, these past few years, I felt I have devoted a majority of my time and energy to develop myself whether it was on a professional or personal level. While these investments are ones that I know I will carry with me for a lifetime, I have realized that I could also play more of a role to do that in someone else’s life.
Writing a check to an organization is an easy way out; I do acknowledge that monetary assets can accomplish quite a bit of change. For me, giving back entails a bit more than that immediate deduction from my bank account to an impoverished country or to sponsor research for a rare chronic diagnosis. I think that yourself and your time are the most valuable contribution you have to offer. Whether you are serving as a mentor for a young child or assisting at your local senior home, your energy that you give is irreplacable. Sure, your dollars helped construct a school in Africa and maybe you even received a picture of the students standing in front of it — but I can guarantee you that the amount of fulfillment you would also experience if you were to use your very own hands and sweat would simply not compare. As Mother Teresa once said, “It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.” Also, let us not discount the importance of one-on-one human interaction. Making someone’s day a little bit better and taking the load off their shoulders (even if temporarily) is a feeling that both individuals will never forget. I can say quite confidently that the moments I have made an impact in someone else’s day have made me not only happier overall, but also have forced me to approach certain situations in my life with a different perspective. Suddenly, the bad day I was having is not so bad after all.
So, you made the time and now what? How do you get started? Below, you will find a list of sites where one can search to discover opportunities to volunteer and give back to the community.
These are just a few to help you initiate your search for the perfect opportunity to implement a positive change in your area or in any corner of the globe you may prefer. Some databases are more skill-focused, whereas some emphasize traveling to relieve natural disasters. Needless to say, there is something for everyone. I hope to hear stories from any readers about their experiences giving back and will be sure to share mine!
Because it’s about more than just myself,