Volunteers' week begins June 1st and ends June 7th. It's a week promoting and raising awareness of how important it is to volunteer, not just for ourselves but also for our community.
So what are the other benefits of volunteering?
If you're interested but unsure how to go about it, don't fret! There are many different ways to help out, even if you don't have a lot of time to. You can volunteer to work in a charity shop for a couple of hours, either call in or ring up and ask if they are accepting volunteers. You can visit your local hospital, especially geriatric hospitals, and offer and offer to help make tea or talk and chat with the patients. You can also volunteer for an organisation that’s personally important to you, you and your friends can organise a day to go busking in the city or do a bag packing collection at supermarket tills. You can organise a litter picking collection in your school over break or lunch, or do it around your local community for an hour or so.
If you've decided on doing something but aren't too sure of what to expect here are a few things I've personally experienced;
When I volunteered at the geriatric hospital all the nurses were so lovely and kind and so were most of the patients. There were a few grumpy and moody ones and that's to be expected. I chatted with them, made tea and served it, we painted and I read and sang songs to them. The most difficult thing I experienced was sometimes a few of the patients weren't very chatty and didn't want too much attention, or just preferred to be given some space and it took me some time to figure that out. I also sometimes didn't understand some of the patients due to heavy accents and slurred speech but if that happens just swiftly change topics, it's not an issue. Some of the patients are a bit hands, alot of the patients would grab to hold my hand and others even held and grabbed to stroke my hair, whilst complimenting it. I was very taken aback by it but soon I didn't mind it and grew comfortable with holding hands. If it's something you might be concerned about you can always tie your hair and keep a personal distance from the patients. Other than that I had such a great experience and it was really fun, I got to know some of the patients really well and and I found it extremely entertaining speaking to them, a lot of them were a really funny and positive and were just such good fun to be around!
At the charity shop I mostly just tidied stuff up and kept checking price tags. If you've only got an hour or two free this is perfect as the time just flies. Sometimes I was asked to do some personal errands for whoever was running the store, as I minor I'm unable to to handle money or be at the checkout so that was the reason I was running those errands. That differed from picking up groceries or dropping books down to the library. I also separated the different clothes and items donated into different categories and placed them in storage. I occasionally answered any questions customers had helped them find any specific items they were looking for.
When I did some bag packing I found that most people preferred to pack their own bags as they had their own system, that's perfectly fine. I mostly stood and made small talk and told them about the organisation I was collecting for. It's good to have a few details revised about the specific organisation you're collecting for, like what is the money going to be used for, what the organisation does and where is it based and that kind of stuff. A really great Idea is to go with a group of friends so you can take shifts, it can be a real pain to stand for hours at the end of the till and if you go with friends you can do an hour or so then take a break!
A few more suggestions are to organise some events to raise awareness fo to raise money, these can be anything from organising a bake sell, a church collection a talent show or a karaoke night or even a bingo night. If you have any hobbies or interests organised something based around those! For more ideas and information look up https://volunteersweek.org
Teenagers With Experience is an online platform ran by teenagers for teenagers. We provide support through sharing our own experiences and providing advice based from this. If you need support, feel free to reach out to us on one of our social media platforms. We will do our best to support you and if we feel we cannot we will direct you to more suited, professional support.