Reason #4: It Benefits You!
Its hard to explain to others why volunteering is selfless when sometimes it feels so selfish.
Once a week in Thailand, I lead adult English classes for working girls. Most classes were improvised. The teaching assistant gave you the subject on arrival, and then you led the class. Knowing that you could improvise a class while having a fun time with your students was a huge reward for me. It showed me that my experience as a teacher had actually taught me something. Teaching is hard, and a constant learning experience. When you find you can apply your skills successfully, there is no bigger reward. Of course, hearing those girls successfully navigating a “how much does this cost?” conversation was a great feeling, as were the hugs afterward, but knowing I rocked a lesson is pretty kick-ass.
We hone our skills. We improve ourselves. For instance, some of us (me included) have massive anxiety issues. But with volunteering, you learn how to come out of that shell. We begin to navigate a room, forget fears. The greatest part about messing up while volunteering is knowing you are still being appreciated for your efforts. Mess up in the real world- GET FIRED!
The best selfish part about volunteering is knowing you are making a difference, and that makes you happy. Multiple studies have found that life-long volunteers suffer from less depression, live longer, and have an overall higher level of life satisfaction. We might not be superman saving the world, but knowing that we are helping the world preserve its beauty is definitely satisfying.
So start volunteering!