What Makes a Volunteer?

I spent most of my weekend giving my time for a great yearly event. I didn’t have to think twice about signing up to volunteer for KidSpark. It was a great experience and thoroughly enjoyable. I wrote about it in detail yesterday. Today I want to focus on the volunteer aspect of the event. It could not happen without volunteers and there were hundreds on hand to help out.

As I sat waiting in the conference room for our orientation to start I glanced around at the other volunteers. I wondered what compelled them to sign up for the task. I noticed that most of them seemed to be high school kids and the majority of them were female.

At first, I thought that this was a natural make-up of people who would be interested in helping to run a popular children’s festival. After all, most elementary teachers seem to be female. But then I thought again of the age of the volunteers. Why were most of them high school students? And then I remembered the requirement that you need to get 40 hours of community service in order to graduate high school here in Ontario.

I wondered how many of these volunteers really wanted to be here and how many were just here to fill up their required hours. Throughout the weekend, I could easily pick out the people who were there because they wanted to be.

I remember reading somewhere that if you help other people get what they want that you will then get what you want. I volunteer for a lot of things in my community and have done so for roughly half of my life. I think it is an enriching experience that everyone should do.

I know that some people really don’t like the 40 hours of community service that they are required to do to graduate. I personally don’t have a problem with it. I didn’t have to do that when I went to school but I still choose to volunteer my time anyway.

I think kids can really benefit from this program because the type of service is so vague. I am sure that anyone could find something or some cause that they would enjoy to volunteer for. My only questions is that if we are forcing people to volunteer, is it really volunteering?

I know that this is a touchy debate with some students and parents. I was wondering what you think, dear reader. Do they have this in your state? Do you think it is a good idea? Please post a reply.

3 responses to “What Makes a Volunteer?”

  1. They had it in Singapore all right, but most of the charity work involved visiting retirement homes/orphanages/standing by the side of the street asking for donations. The latter was definitely the most popular.

    I helped chair a society for child abuse awareness back home in high school. That chocked up my community service hours to like I don’t know, in the hundreds or something but I wasn’t doing it for that. In the end, I had to kick out many students who were just in there for the hours, rather than to help.

    Not a lot of people like volunteering their time for others. Not even if all it took was an hour a week.

  2. I agree with it. There is something out there that any kid can find an interest in. It gives our plugged-in video mp3 kids a much needed dose of reality. S