“Not everything that counts can be counted. And not everything that can be counted, counts.” – Albert Einstein
Volunteering is about giving, contributing and helping other individuals and society at-large. It is about working with others to make a meaningful contribution to a better community. You can volunteer to gain hands-on experience, acquire new skills, meet new people, or simply to give back to the community, help a friend, or promote a worthwhile cause.
I was 14 years old and in the 9th grade when I began the first step towards being a helpful citizen of society through volunteering. I started by joining a group dedicated to community service and helping people – it was a really lovely team doing very interesting and great work in Gaza.
A turning point in my volunteer experience came when I began helping poor and sick people who have permanent diseases and orphaned children. I helped them by playing games with them, giving gifts, sharing stories, listening to them and encouraging them to talk. All these activities aimed to help them feel that they are just like anyone else, that their suffering won’t block their lives. My group and I also began working with an institution for orphans who lost their parents at a young age – they were children of different ages with different dreams, but all with high values and conceptions.
Through my experience working with all of them, I discovered the simplicity of life and came to know that, despite the suffering and hardships that we each face in life, we each must also hope, dream, and love our life.
This changed me a lot. I started looking forward to each and every potential chance to volunteer. I became stronger and better able to handle and communicate with different people no matter how old they were, where they came from or their distinct stories or particular suffering. It also helped me to build strong new relationships, and nobody can deny that we benefited the people we were aiming to help by cheering them up and giving them hope.
I have now been volunteering for 6 years and I really believe that it’s an activity that everyone should try. It is a valuable, eye-opening and enjoyable experience and there are heaps of different kinds of opportunities out there – all you have to do is start looking!