I blogged last week about being harassed by charity canvassers, and then followed it up with a post about the flipside of that, some great fund raising. But an email popped into my inbox this week that reminded me there is a third side to this too.
Not only is raising money an important part of charity, so is giving time. Time is asset that is precious to us all, and I salute those who give up some of that time to volunteer.
Volunteering takes many forms. From those who give up months of their lives to an overseas project, to the Mum who gives up an afternoon to listen to children read at school, scout leaders, hospital visitors, charity shop volunteers, and a multitude of other options.
I have only ever volunteered within my children’s schools, and it has been a very rewarding experience, whether it be accompanying them on trips, or listening to tiny people stuttering their first stories aloud. Volunteering plays such an important role within our communities. Things like Meals On Wheels provide an important service and a point of contact for those who need their assistance. And volunteers with organisations such as Home Start can make a huge difference to families. I could list hundreds of ways that volunteers improve the lives of others.
CSV are a UK volunteering and learning charity, their mission is to enable people to take an active role within their communities. They help empower the disabled, support families, encourage young people to find the direction that is right for them, and enable the older generation to share the wealth of their knowledge.
The charity turns 50 this year, and are celebrating the contribution of volunteers by sharing stories of volunteering, and celebrating Volunteer champions. You can see their timeline of success stories here.
I often talk about the importance of being kind, and volunteering is one way you can put that kindness into action, it is certainly something I should look into finding some time to do.
In December of 1984 CSV ran a spot the poster contest. The poster in question carried the important message that ‘Young people can do great things, if you give us a chance’. I love the picture on that poster of a punk blowing up a balloon for a small child.
As a parent of a teen I am all too aware of the negative press that young people receive, yet this representation bears little similarity to the young people I meet in daily life, who are lovely, and generous, albeit often with silly fringes. My daughter is currently arranging some volunteer hours in one of our local rest homes for the summer holiday, and many of her friends are looking to do similar projects. These things help them grow into rounded people, give them valuable life experience, and of course- on a selfish front look good on university applications, but they also allow young people to both give something back to their community, and show that teenagers are fabulous too- even if they are wearing a hoodie!
CSV draw our attention to the parallels between 1984 and 2013 for many young people, with youth unemployment being in the millions, and want us to notice that by volunteering in huge numbers up and down the country, today’s youth are still doing great things. To celebrate the potential of young people, they are inviting them to enter a competition to design a new poster for this year. It can be as creative as they like, but must include the same tagline as the poster from 1984, and the top designs will be featured in an art exhibition.
Volunteering benefits everyone. Do you volunteer? Let me know your experiences, or share your volunteer story with CSV,