Volunteering is my jam. I love to volunteer. There I said it. Over the past years, I have volunteered in everything from frying green onion cakes at the China booth at Heritage Days, to building homes for Habitat for Humanity to helping out at an orphanage in Cambodia. For more on that experience, click here.
Last month, Seb and I went to A.R. MacNeil Secondary to “Empower young people to own their economic success.” Junior Achievement (JA) is the world’s largest not-for-profit organization dedicated to educating young people about business.
Here’s what he had to say: “Volunteering for JA is a rewarding experience because it gives you an opportunity to connect with youth. Every time I enter the classroom, I am impressed by how smart these kids are and how much they know. I wish that I had someone to explain money management to me at their age, because it would have saved me a lot of trouble and heartache. The main reason I volunteer with JA is so I can share my firsthand experience, and so that these kids can learn from my mistakes. “
5 reasons why volunteering is awesome!
1. It makes you happier: The intrinsic benefit of doing good things for others is that it makes you feel good. When you do something for the sake of doing it, without expectation of getting anything in return, it can actually make you feel happier. In yoga philosophy we call this karma yoga or selfless service. Acting without expecting anything in return is a practice in non-attachment, and can free your mind from the suffering that comes with selfish thinking. Volunteering can take your mind off your own problems and focus your attention towards bigger picture ideas, like helping others. It can help empower you and help you deal with hard times. If you or someone you love is going through a tough time, providing support to that cause can help lift your spirits. I met this bright young girl, Annie this year, who had lost her brother to bowel cancer. How did she deal? By rocking out with her undies on to raise money through the People’s Choice Undies Run for bowel cancer in South Australia. How cool is that?
On top of that, studies have shown that volunteering can give you the feeling of having more time (oddly enough), create social bonds to make you feel more loved and give you greater satisfaction in life. You can read more on that here: It’s rewarding to know that something you do big or small, can contribute to helping others. It’s these actions that give you those warm and fuzzy feelings.
2. Community, Connections & Networking: Through volunteerism, you have the opportunity to connect with people of varied age groups and backgrounds over a higher purpose. I’ve met amazing mentors and friends through volunteering. And because you are connecting through something positive, I’ve found that people genuinely want to help you. Think job prospects, personal references and friend connections. One of my favourite volunteer gigs is being a Wanderlust Wayfarer for the Wanderlust Whistler festival. I get to organize a community event that generates excitement over the Wanderlust yoga and music festival (not hard to do as it’s really fun), and on top of that I get to connect and network with amazing yogis from all over the world!
This year, our DJ Yoga event called Wander2Dharma is coming up on June 13th at the Dharma Yoga Vancouver where I am honoured to co-teach a class with Sara Jade while my husband Sebastien (DJ Ceebas) and my teacher Reno Muenz will be spinning some sweet tunes. Mark it on your calendar and stay tuned for more details!
3. Knowledge & Cool Experiences: When I first started teaching yoga, I taught for free at the Y.M.C.A for the first year. This experience was super valuable to me as they took the time to mentor me through my new teaching abilities. We would video my class, go through it together, and survey the students on things I could improve on. At first it felt a little uncomfortable but I got so much out of it and at the end of the day it made me a better yoga teacher. If you are transitioning between jobs, volunteering is a way to gain experience and scope out the job, that you are interested in. Volunteer experience looks great on your resume and some post secondary school programs will even require you to volunteer as part of their application process. I’m applying for a physical therapy program and one of the requirements is a minimum of 70 hours of volunteer or paid work involving interaction with people who have cognitive, emotional, or physical disabilities. I’m looking forward to it!
4. Fun: Volunteering is a fun way to explore your interests and passions. It can be an interesting and meaningful way to spend your time and gain new experiences. It’s low in commitment so if you find you don’t like a particular volunteer organization or job, you can always move on to the next one without any hard feelings. That is, of course as long as you fulfill your obligations with integrity.
5. Free Stuff & Admissions: One of the perks of volunteering is sometimes you get free or discounted swag. Yoga memberships, T-shirts, pens, entry tickets, stickers, food, etc. Sometimes you’ll be invited to special events where they will treat you to food and drink. I have even had a great volunteer experience where all I had to do was go to a party, hang out and have fun. I got free cover, and 2 free drink tickets to just go and hang out with my friends. Pretty sweet! And sometimes you can hook your friends up too. If you’re interested in going to Wanderlust Whistler this year and you haven’t booked your tickets, direct message me about a special offer! Classes are already starting to fill up so if you haven’t started thinking about it – now’s the time.
All good reasons to volunteer. Hope you enjoyed reading this post. If you had great volunteer experiences you’d like to share, I’d love to hear from you!
Love and Blessings.