DEVELOPING THE CULTURE OF VOLUNTEERISM
BY: Isaiah Y. Jam
Back in the days as we grew up, the culture of volunteering was inculcated into us. We were taught by way of persistent instruction to do the right thing at the right time in the right place always from a self gratification perspective.
Before we proceed, let’s quickly define the following terms;
Culture: the ideas, customs and special behavior of a particular people or society. It can also be said to be the arts and other manifestations of human achievements.
Volunteer: a person who freely offers to take part in or undertake a task, to do something without being paid.
The culture of volunteering was further buttressed by folk tales, one of the mediums that were used to pass down discipline and way of life to the next generation. For example, a story or a tale of someone meeting an old man or woman on the way carrying firewood or some sort of heavy load and travelling in an opposite direction, the younger persons offer persons offers voluntarily to help convey the load to the elder’s destination after which the elderly speaks a word or pronounces a blessing or gives an instruction to the younger which leads to a fortune.
Volunteering: therefore means making a move without any constraint, offering oneself, ones service for a cause. It is self initiated by choice, unconditional, selfless and sincere without any intention to benefit. It is a complete free service.
Benefits of Volunteering
Volunteering allows you to connect to your community and make it a better place. It can benefit you and your family. It also helps you make new friends, expand your network and boost your social/career skills.
Permit me to share a personal experience. My first Driver’s License was obtained by virtue of voluntary service.
It was a sunny Friday in 1999 in Lagos State, I arrived home from the primary school where I was teaching and was dressing down when I heard a dozen of youth making suggestions and counter suggestions on the way forward. A Mercedes Benz V Boot was stuck in the mud. All efforts came to no avail, the car was still stuck but the youths demanded settlement for their stress so far. At this point I decided to go to the scene and volunteering my help. The owner of the car turned down my offer saying he had no money left on him to give me. I insisted my help was voluntary. Comparing my statue with those who efforts had failed, I was like David and they were like Goliaths. I quickly took charge of the situation asking the Goliaths to justify their settlement by lifting up the car tyre and letting it rest on stones until they were done with all four (4) tyres. With a repertoire knowledge and experience from my driving skills I brought out the car from the mud with an alarming speed that sent the youths and the car owner running. I drove to a nearby well and cleaned up the car.
Dumb founded by my actions the car owner asked, “Young ma who are you and what do you do?” a fresh diploma graduate awaiting result” I replied. “You have good driving skills” He continued. “Thank you sir” I echoed. “Do you have a driver’s license” He asked. “No sir” I replied.
He reached for his complimentary card, wrote a note at the back, handed it over to me and requested I see him on Monday. Mr Seyi Bolu, a senior staff of ECOBank, Ajose Adeogun, VI Lagos facilitated my first drivers license. I was too young to be employed as a professional driver according to the policy of the bank. I was still awaiting the result that would have qualified one for an alternative job with the bank but in the meantime I got my license. Thanks to volunteerism.
The volunteer and the volunteer Administrator both end up with gains as seen even in the moral of the folk tales. It’s a two-way street. For instance in the workplace or in an organization, the volunteer gains leadership skills, problem solving skills, communication & interpersonal skills, teamwork etc. he/she also gains experience and mastery in a chosen field or career.
The organization on the other hand gains additional workforce at little or no cost. By accepting volunteers the organizational rating also gives up as one that has ability to build human capacity.
Many areas coexist that need more voluntary hands: Environment, wildlife protection, peace & security, health, women empowerment, Arts & Culture, Education, Counseling & mentoring, Administration/office work. To be a volunteer you need the following skills: commitment, passion, teamwork, compassion, time management, strong work ethics, leadership and communication skills. This is a clarion call to both young and old to arise and make the world a better place by imbibing the spirit of volunteerism.
Developing the culture of Volunteerism By Isaiah Jam
DEVELOPING THE CULTURE OF VOLUNTEERISM