I don’t want to sell my soul to a corporation but I want to keep my summer productive. Is there a way around it? Volunteering is the answer! These can be done either during term-time or the summer break. Don’t be put off by the fact that you don’t receive money from it. The number of graduates under 30 who credit volunteering for playing an integral part in helping them secure a job is 51%. Indeed, most employers value an applicant who had previous volunteering experience. Not only does it showcase soft skills such as teamwork, it also conveys to the employer that you are kind and morally upright.
Benefits of Volunteering
Make New Friends by Volunteering
One benefit of volunteering as mentioned earlier is the opportunity to make new friends. Volunteering organisations often have a cohort of other volunteers during your time with them. You will meet like-minded people and they could potentially be your lifelong friends. This could improve your ability to develop relationships as you will have to communicate with multiple people. Additionally, even working professionals make time to volunteer during the week as well. This means volunteering could also help you foster professional networks which would be extremely helpful when it comes to securing a job after you graduate. If you decide to take up volunteering, you should go out of your way to socialise with everyone. You’ll never know who could help you out in the future.
Volunteering Helps Improve Mental Health
Another benefit of volunteering is that it can help reduce stress. It is well-known that volunteering can help alleviate anxiety and anger. Indeed, a study in 2012 found that people who volunteer out of enjoyment were able to reduce early mortality rates by 22%. Additionally, volunteering helps improve your social life which could avoid loneliness. This, in turn, could help reduce the development of depression, as socialising with like-minded people helps build a support network.
Volunteering Opens Up Career Opportunities
Furthermore, for those of you who are more career oriented, volunteering can also lead to full-time employment. Volunteering can help you create professional networks that could eliminate the stresses of having to search for a job after graduation. You can also explore a new career path with low stakes through volunteering. For instance, if you are interested in a career in marketing, you can volunteer to help promote the organization for which you support.
Here Are Some Organisations in Malaysia You May Volunteer For
The World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) is a NGO that aims to preserve the environment and to protect the diversity of wildlife on Earth. They do so by:
- Conserving the world’s biological diversity
- Ensuring that the use of renewable energy resources is sustainable
- Promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption
For those of you who are outgoing or environmentally savvy, you should consider volunteering for them. You can be part of their marketing team where you will get to promote the organisation’s campaigns and partake in fundraising activities. You will also engage with the public via face-to-face interactions at events and roadshows.
Free Tree Society
For those of you who are environmentally savvy but also prefer to help a smaller organisation, the Free Tree Society in Bangsar may suit you. Its mission is to raise awareness by empowering people to preserver, conserve and save the environment. As a volunteer, you will get to learn about biodiversity, rainwater harvesting and composting. Also, you will partake in planting workshops that teach soil mixing, propagation, and transplanting. Additionally, you will also be given guidance on plant care and nursery maintenance.
The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR)is a global organisation that seeks to protect the rights and lives of refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people. They have dedicated themselves to protecting the lives of over 50 million refugees since 1950. As a volunteer, you will participate in a multitude of activities including teaching, fundraising, administrative assistance, special public events, and social activities for all age groups. Visit their website to apply and find out more about what you get to do as a volunteer.
Kechara Soup Kitchen
The Kechara Soup Kitchen (KSK) is an organization that provides food, medical aid and counselling to the homeless and urban poor of Malaysia. As a volunteer, you will be packing cooked food into paper wrappers for distribution and the cleaning of dishes on weekdays. On weekends, you will be assigned to teams where you will distribute food to the homeless and urban poor clients in designated locations within the city. For those of you who are studying medicine or other related degrees, you can also provide medical consultation for sick clients.
Impact Malaysia is an organisation created by Ministry of Youth & Sports to ‘spur youth-driven social impact through a multi-stakeholder social impact working model, including communities, NGOs, civil society, philanthropic organizations, social innovators, and tech’. If you are interested in social entrepreneurship join their Impact Youth Programme. Volunteers will receive training and get updates on available social impact projects.
There are numerous benefits to volunteering that include an improved social life, mental health and career opportunities. By enriching the lives of others, you will end up making yours more fulfilling as well. Overall, even if you are not passionate about a cause, you should make your summer break as productive as possible.