Why Volunteer? There must be a good reason why someone would choose to take time out of their busy schedules and hectic lives to work, free of charge. If you ask almost anyone nowadays they’ll have a list as long as their arm of the volunteering positions they’ve held and the hours they’ve selflessly put in for others. Is it just the benefit of a nicely padded CV?
The warm and fuzzies that come from helping others? Or perhaps it’s all the hours of bragging they, as members of the volunteering community, are entitled to. The answer, I suppose, is different for everyone and for me, if I’m honest, I think it’s some combination of the three.
I’ve tried volunteering in all different shapes and sizes, from daycare to old person’s homes, waitressing to soup kitchens and each has given me something different to take home.
This year I decided to volunteer for Nightline, which, as I’m sure you’ve all learnt from the back of your library cards or a toilet door, is a non-judgmental confidential listening and information service. Training is seven weeks long, with sessions twice weekly, teaching us how to approach all sorts of calls, from those who just want to chat to those focused on more serious issues.
There have been guest speakers from organizations such as Samaritans and Alcoholics Anonymous, who’ve come to talk to us trainees about the different issues that we, as members of a helpline service, may come into contact with.
Throughout the training, Nightline has attempted to equip us with the tools we need to listen to and provide support for people reaching out for help. So what have I gained from this years volunteering experience?
Well, it’s early days yet and training is still underway, but isn’t learning how to put aside our problems and be there to listen to and empathize with someone in need something we could all stand to learn a thing or two about, Nightline volunteer or not?
Nightline recruit again in February for more information about how to get involved e mail [email protected]