You often hear that the world has become cold and people selfish. Everyone thinks of his or her own interests. We live in an individualistic world where everyone is always busy. I also used to slip into this kind of pessimistic thinking quite often before I started my new job.
I started working as a regional coordinator of volunteer work about a year ago and with that, I have found a completely new world. I am proud to be able to work with such an important concept as developing volunteer work. I coordinate a wide volunteering network in Päijät-Häme, which has allowed me to see very different kinds of volunteer activities.
Before this job, I had a very narrow impression about the possibilities of volunteer work, but now my eyes have opened. My own experience as a volunteer comes from the trained friend activities for the Finnish Red Cross, peer support for a grief association, and government work. I hadn’t realized before how many people are committed to volunteering and how many forms of activities are dependent on volunteers. There are many clubs, events, and trips, which could not be organized without a large number of volunteers. Not to mention the recreation, going outdoors, and discussion services for the elderly. The list could be continued forever. Now that I’ve seen the wider entirety of volunteering, it has brought more meaning also to my own role as a volunteer.
Developing volunteer work has its own challenges and there is as much work as one is capable and willing to do. However, the best part about this job is meeting the people who give their own time for common good and who want to care for others. I want to play a role in developing different forms of volunteering, so that as many people as possible would find this rewarding hobby.
On International Volunteer Day on 5.12., the Päijät-Häme volunteering network organized a thank you party for their volunteers. From 20 different organizations and associations, 100 volunteers attended. At the party, it was definitely impressive to go through the target groups that can be helped with these volunteers. I’m sure that everyone at the party understood how important their work is for the common good. The volunteers truly deserved their thank you party.
Volunteering has restored my faith in the kindness of people. There still are people, who sincerely and altruistically want to help others. Nevertheless, we can’t take this for granted; we must remember to stop to appreciate and thank them.
The writer studied volunteer leadership at the HUMAK University of Applied Sciences in the fall of 2017.
Translation: Satu Puolitaival