A BIT ABOUT ME
My name is Cristina Bequer. I started volunteering in the 4th grade with small things like cleaning up after the races and collecting winter clothes with my 4-H Club. One day I saw a commercial for the Million Thanks Campaign to honor our service men and women, which was started by Shauna Fleming, who was only 15 years old. My brother and I decided to write a few cards to help the campaign, but when we went to the Chevy dealership to drop the cards off, they were unaware of the campaign. Once they found the collection box they asked me if I wanted to be in charge of our city’s campaign box. This was my first major leadership role and I was determined to do the best job I could. I made pre-made cards for people, spoke at schools, and set up a table at special events. In just two months, I had collected over 1,000 cards and my community service project caught the attention of my school principal. He nominated me for the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards and I ended up being one of two students chosen to represent California in Washington D.C.
Volunteering has become a way of life for me. It has given me many life experiences and I intend to prove to children that volunteering is something that can easily be accomplished and benefits the volunteer and the organization while also being fun! Throughout the years, I have been able to gather children to participate in many volunteering opportunities in my community and I plan to encourage more to participate in the future.
WHAT VOLUNTEERING CAN DO FOR YOU
Volunteering is the perfect way to discover something you are really good at and develop a new skill. Fundamentally, volunteering is about giving your time, energy and skills freely. Unlike many things in life there is choice involved in volunteering. As a volunteer you have made a decision to help on your own, free from pressure to act from others. Volunteers express a sense of achievement and motivation, and this is ultimately generated from your desire and enthusiasm to help. Sometimes volunteers are regarded as do-gooders and those that hold that view also assume that one person can never make a difference. It may be true that no one person can solve all the world’s problems, but what you can do is make that little corner of the world where you live just that bit better.
BECOME A PART OF THE COMMUNITY
We sometimes take for granted the community that we live in. People and societies co-depend on each other for survival but growth of such things as commercialism are seeing traditional values being disregarded. Volunteering is ultimately about helping others and having an impact on people’s wellbeing. What better way is there to connect with your commmunity and give a little back? As a volunteer, you certainly return to society some of the benefits that society gives you.
BOOST YOUR CAREER OPTIONS
A survey carried out by TimeBank through Reed Executive showed that among 200 of the US’s leading businesses
73% of employers would recruit a candidate with volunteering experience over one without
94% of employers believe that volunteering can add to skills
94% of employees who volunteered to learn new skills had benefited either by getting their first job, improving their salary, or being promoted
Volunteering is a perfect way to explore new fields. If you have a passion for the arts, then why not volunteer at your local theatre? Or if your ambitions are to be a doctor why not find out about volunteer opportunities at your local hospital – the ideal way to expand your work portfolio in your field and to gain a real insight into your chosen path.