A good question was brought up in today’s class. Do people volunteer to feel good or to really help other people? I agree with a comment made about American culture – it is self-centered. However, there are different types of volunteerism and reasons why it’s done. In this blog post, I’m going to focus on the volunteering our class is doing and the volunteerism most people can relate to. It’s not the same as a business donating money or time to a charity or as a retired person spending their time by volunteering.
While community service is used as a punishment in some cases, it isn’t the only reason people give back to the community. If you haven’t seen the movie Role Models, then you must because it’s hilarious and in the end there’s a message that can further my point. There is a mix in volunteerism between people who must give their time and the people who volunteer the extra time they have, but I think the end result is always the same.
Personally, I’ve grown up with a mother who constantly volunteered for the Special Olympics. I still remember going to events with her and seeing her work from distance. When I was old enough, my mom put me to work as well. In this case, I believe it is in her nature. She gravitated toward a teaching career and truly enjoyed volunteering with Special Olympics to help others. She always tells me how gratifying it is to see smiles on the faces of those she helps and after years of volunteering, I agree.
As I’ve grown up, I have volunteered my time to many different organizations. This weekend was a sort of volunteer weekend for me because not only did I go to the orange-picking event, but Sunday morning I volunteered at a Reducing Euthanasia at Shelters Through Commitment and Underlying Education (RESCUE ) event with my other Fiesta Bowl court members. These events are gratifying because there is never a time when after volunteering that the people you helped aren’t extremely thankful.
To answer the question whether volunteering is for a better self image or really to help others, I believe that even if someone walks into a volunteer situation with bad intentions they will walk out with a different perspective. Volunteering is individually gratifying, but I don’t believe that people do the act of volunteering solely to gain a better image. Someone may volunteer seeking a better reputation and in the end others do see them as a better person, but there’s an element of volunteerism that truly changes the heart.
It feels good to give back. Whether someone has personal motives doesn’t change that they have volunteered their extra time. I think if someone volunteers and doesn’t do the job they’ve been asked to do with 100% dedication, then it is a selfish act. Why volunteer at all?