"I don't know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know - the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve."
- Albert Schweitzer
Being able to serve and help others is most rewarding. Volunteering in a soup kitchen has opened my eyes to what the real world really is. Most of the people who go to soup kitchens need everyday things that we sometimes take for granted like meals, showers, warm clothes, and someone who cares about us. It's very rewarding to hear a warm "Thank you," accompanied by a comforting smile because you have done something as simple as serving them a plate of food or a cup of lemon tea or orange juice.
It's amazing that few requirements are necessary to work in a soup kitchen, yet the rewards are endless. The desire to serve and the virtue of caring about others and knowing that regardless of a person's status, everyone is equal and should be treated that way, are the most appreciated and important qualities. The task of serving the food can be learned and perfected. Getting attached to the people you serve and work with is inevitable. It's almost impossible to forget the children. While you are serving them juice, you wonder about their future, what will become of them? You often wonder if the older people have family members who are out there searching for them, and where they spend their days and nights.
Volunteering in a soup kitchen is not just another community service, it's a reality check. You are welcomed into a world that, because of luck, is unfamiliar to you. In a soup kitchen you are helping both other people and yourself by giving their lives and yours a little more meaning. fl
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.
Volunteering is one of the noblest activities of our time. Volunteering is characterized with the free contribution into the development of the human society. When one cares about the natural environment and the people who are in need, he decides to devote his life, time and efforts to the improvement of the current situation. I have read an article of a famous sociologist about the roots of volunteering. He claims that there are at least two kinds of volunteers. The first class consists of the people who really want to change their environment. The second group is represented by the young people and graduate students who have to get involved into volunteering in order to receive a good job in future. Consequently, volunteering is a controversial issue. According to the author, the real volunteers possess their definite type of psychology. Not everyone can become a good volunteer and work for the good of people, animals and plants with an open heart.
In my opinion, it is right to say that very few people are altruists. Such people can become good volunteers and their help cannot be exaggerated. They do not suffer from the lack of motivation when they decide to collect litter or help homeless animals in a shelter. Ecological volunteering is extremely important for the quality of the natural environment. These active people clean coastal areas, parks, woods and streets. They help homeless and wild animals in case of a natural disaster.
There are also many volunteers who decide to improve the life of other people. To my mind, this action is very noble, because smart people decide to move to the countries of the third world to help others. They sacrifice their time and energy to teach and cure people. I guess that such volunteers are very strong and courageous, because they work for the improvement of the human society. Of course, one can do the same good things staying at his home country. Volunteers can help people at nursing homes and orphanages. It does not worth mentioning that children and elderly people require additional attention, especially when they do not have their own families.
Volunteering changes the human mind. When you see the problems of other people, you become wise and sympathetic. This activity changes your worldview, material and spiritual values. You get to know about the structure of our society and its inequality. Moreover, you learn about the problems and challenges, which affect the life of the majority of people. At the same time, you broaden your horizons when you travel around your home country and visit other countries in different parts of Earth. Volunteering helps one see new picturesque places and exotic animals and plants. When you work for a small firm as a volunteer abroad, you have a brilliant chance to learn something new about the culture and traditions of this country. You can get to know about the lifestyle and values of the local people. This knowledge is priceless, because you will not read about trivial things in a book. It is better to see and experience everything yourself. Volunteering helps you develop your communication skills and improve your language competence. You will meet hundreds of people from different countries. You will exchange information, experience and knowledge with them. It is useful to live in a multicultural environment in order to be able to communicate with the representatives of different cultures. This skill cannot be overestimated in our modern age of globalization. When your employer finds out that you have been to numerous countries as a volunteer, he will appreciate you. You will surely become an indispensable employee. If you work in different fields as a volunteer, you train a great number of various skills. You learn to cope with different duties and different kinds of work. Consequently, you become a multitasking and effective employee.
Volunteering is a good chance to develop your personality and professionalism. When you want to become an expert in the definite field, you ought to work a year or two as a volunteer. If you are concerned about the condition of the natural environment, you can devote your time to various ecological volunteering programs.
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