Volunteering: Impacts to Infinity & Beyond

By Tessa Blaikie Whitecloud
January 8, 2016

Summer time at Oak Table!

Volunteerism is a key way that 1JustCity members are able to support people who access our services to feel a sense of pride in their contribution, leadership and capacity to volunteer in our spaces. Volunteering boosts individuals’ self worth with the ‘warm glow’ of giving back to the community. There are also people who volunteer because they are currently unable to find work and are looking for experience to help with their employment search. A very important benefit of volunteering is that it can provide the unemployed the environment required to gain valuable skills and the necessary tools needed in order to find a job that is suited for them.

Volunteering breaks down social isolation for those living alone, among its many other benefits. Volunteering can give a person experience in a certain field and illustrate to a potential employer that they can manage their time and complete tasks before a deadline. While volunteering they can develop skill sets towards any number of careers. Volunteering expands an individual’s social network, creating connections within the community. Volunteering can boost a person’s self confidence and morale, contributing to the community can lead to increased recognition and a positive reputation. Volunteers develop more self-awareness than they had prior to engaging in volunteering. It provides the environment for a person to discover and develop their strengths and identify and minimize their weaknesses in a way that they did not previously have access to. For the frequently labelled as ‘unable’ to contribute/ ‘unable’ to work, volunteering breaks boundaries.

Research found that specific subgroups benefited more from volunteering, such as individuals who “have low education attainment and those living in rural areas. Volunteering may serve to ‘level the playing field’” (Spera, Ghertner, Nerino & DiTommaso 2015, 902). Morrow-Howell et. al. describe that “when older adults lose jobs, they have a harder time re-entering the workforce than younger workers” (2014, 88). The older adults typically have to learn more new skill sets that are required for certain jobs that are available. With the current cost of education, volunteering may provide the one of the only viable options for some of these people to gain access to developing these skills. A similar situation exists among young adults entering the workforce as some may not have pursued higher education, whether that be by choice or due to a lack of opportunity. Volunteering opens the doors to new jobs for individuals who are currently unemployed or who are currently working but wish to move into another area of employment. The research has made a very strong case for the concept that volunteering is beneficial to both the organization and the volunteer. It helps develop new skills and can lead to self-actualization and boosts to self esteem that can turn the tide in the search for a job.

Our 1Justcity Members run on over 30,000 hours of volunteerism every year, some of this is from our community members who are supported to be able to give back, who are affirmed, challenged at levels that suit them and congratulated for their contribution. All of this happens because of amazing people also volunteering or working in our spaces. We would love your support today, through volunteerism or donating to the community capacity builder fund. Just donate through our website and make a note you’d like it to be for the CCB fund. Or contact us about volunteering today!

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