By Melissa LOW
I love dogs big time! I will cross any street, just for a sneaky chance to pat a dog. Naturally, I leapt at the opportunity to join my friend, Shen Lyn, as a volunteer for Guide Dogs Tasmania Street Appeal. Alongside a record number of more than 100 volunteers, I was happy to be a part of ensuring more Tasmanians will have a guide, therapy or companion dog.
Amidst the chaos that is daily life, we should squeeze in time to volunteer. It is an enriching experience with so many benefits that could inject new zest in our lives. Here are my reasons why we should volunteer at some point in our lives.
Note: I do use the term ‘opportunity’ a fair bit, but that’s because… it is!
It is an opportunity to connect with others
Having recently moved to Hobart, I am well-acquainted with the struggle of fitting into a new environment. Being a volunteer is a great opportunity to immerse yourself in a new community you may find yourself in. Additionally, most of these events are set in a comfortable and friendly environment which presents you with a window to form meaningful connections with like-minded individuals.
Volunteering enhances your interpersonal skills
Some are natural conversation starters, others are shy. I…fall somewhere in between. A study carried out by Duke University in 1989 found that volunteering is a great opportunity to build on your communication skills as it pushes you to speak to new people. Practice makes perfect, right? As a volunteer, the likelihood that you will interact with people from various departments and levels of authority is high. This interaction will teach you how to work with and communicate with various levels of people in an organisation.
Volunteer work can boost your mental health.
According to VICE, volunteering is a form of helping others which will give you a natural high that your brain is wired for. This is especially the case if you are passionate about the cause of the event. The warm-fuzzy feeling from giving back to your community will leave you with a sense of purpose and accomplishment. Simultaneously, volunteer work could alleviate and shift your focus from your own challenges.
Volunteering can advance your career.
SEEK found 85% of employers believe volunteer work is as credible as traditional work. It also gives you the chance to build on your existing skill set while gaining a couple of new skills. Most involve working with a mix of people for a common goal, and teamwork is a skill all of us should have hands-on training in. Additionally, volunteering presents you with the opportunity to make an informed decision about the career you want while building your social network.
Volunteering is character-building.
Volunteer work is an avenue you could make use of to dabble in your various interests and passions. It offers a change to your usual routine in which your creativity and motivation can be refreshed and enhanced. You can draw from the experience, a positive outlook of life and birth inspiration to push you forward. For graduates like myself, volunteering is a step out of the lecture halls and into the real world.
The day was such a treat, an exhilarating experience – from getting to cuddle Dexter, the ambassador dog, to meeting experienced puppy raisers and trainers like Sean and Monica. I am glad I was able to contribute in some ways to the betterment of others and to ensure more beautiful puppies will fulfil their purposes!
On that note, congratulations to Guide Dogs Tasmania for a successful event and a great turn out! Here’s to getting more puppies into training!
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A digital native with a strong interest in digital marketing, Melissa graduated with a Business (Accounting) degree from RMIT University, Melbourne. She is currently based in Hobart, Tasmania and is keen to explore work opportunities in either digital marketing or accounting, or a combo of both. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org