These Special Stories Will Make You Want to Volunteer Immediately
When you've got a volunteering requirement to fulfill, spending your weekend away from your phone and your friends can feel like a chore.
People tell you that volunteering is a rewarding experience that will change your outlook on life and even make you a better person, but until you've actually gone through it, it's tough to see that silver lining.
That's why we've decided to share our volunteering stories. All of us on the Sweety High writing staff have volunteered in the past, and we hope our own experiences will help you learn not to dread the obligation of volunteering, and will hopefully inspire you to get out there and make a difference in others' lives!
(Photo credit: Andrei Ruchkin via Shutterstock)
I started volunteering when I was 13 years old for the non-profit Cats in Need. This was a dream come true for me–not only because I had dreams of becoming a veterinarian, but also because I love cats.
Once a week, I would feed the cats, clean their litter boxes and spend plenty of time socializing with them. Playing with the kittens that would come and go was easily my favorite part. And while seeing them get adopted by loving families was one of the most rewarding parts of the job, it wasn't always easy to say goodbye.
This experience not only taught me the importance of responsibility, but it also reminded me how special it is to bond with an animal. My time with Cats in Need really taught me to stress that we should all treat animals with just as much respect as we'd treat any other human being, because the relationships you create with them can be even more powerful than that of any person in your life.
(Photo credit: Oleksandr Khmelevskyi via Shutterstock)
I volunteered throughout high school as part of the National Honor Society, but it wasn't until I was a freshman in college that I truly understood the impact and importance of getting involved and giving back to the community.
My college started a school-wide initiative called Step Forward Day, where one day out of the year, the whole campus serves the Los Angeles community through a variety of volunteer activities.
I will never forget that overwhelming feeling of joy and accomplishment that my team and I felt as we helped the staff of a local elementary school clean their courtyard for their incoming students.
I've learned through this experience in particular that helping others can be just as rewarding for the individuals receiving the services as those performing it.
(Photo credit: Photographee.eu via Shutterstock)
When I started volunteering at a retirement home one summer before high school, my only intention was to rack up volunteer hours that would look great on my college applications. But my time there became a lot more valuable than a number on a resume.
Every weekday I'd read, chat and do arts and crafts with the seniors there, and it wasn't long before we forged real connections. Some folks didn't necessarily have family to come visit them, and it started to mean a lot to me that I could spend time with them and come to consider them my friends.
In the end, the experience taught me that something that feels like an obligation can actually bring a lot of joy, and that when you help people, you almost always get back more than you put in.
(Photo credit: Chepko Danil Vitalevich via Shutterstock)
Two years ago, I volunteered once a week for two and a half months, as a part of Young Storytellers, an organization that gives public school students an opportunity to write stories and see them brought to life on stage and film.
Each member of YST was paired up with a student, so once a week I worked directly with one fourth grader and I would take my laptop and ask questions that led them to writing their very own story, which I would then make into a screenplay that they would be able to see via real actors during our final session. The story was entirely their own, I was just there to lead them along the way and make sure everything was written properly.
The girl I worked with was shy at first, but as the weeks progressed and she became more excited about her story, she was much more outgoing. Once it was finished, she was so grateful for our time together. I really think the whole experienced changed her as a person.
I really enjoy working with kids and I love to write and be creative, so doing this was so rewarding. Being able to use my skill to make a young person feel enlightened provides a sense of fulfillment unlike anything else.
Speaking of the power of volunteering, the WE Day telecast airs on ABC on Sunday, Aug. 28 at 7 pm/6pm CT! WE Day is a special event that celebrates young people who volunteer to make a difference in their communities, and Sunday's telecast will feature Selena Gomez, Nick Jonas, Rowan Blanchard, Demi Lovato, The Muppets and a lot more—so be sure to tune in!
Volunteering is just one way to up your happiness game. For more ideas, read how one writer learned how to be kinder to herself HERE.