by Cailin Jeffers
When I started 7th grade, my mom said I should join National Charity League, a philanthropy group created to encourage young girls and their mothers to volunteer for local charities. However, I was a shy kid growing up, and I knew I would have to step outside my comfort zone. After a bit of gentle nudging from my parents, I reluctantly joined. Pretty soon, I actually grew to love doing charity work around the valley.
I gained a lot of experience from getting involved with the community, and in turn, the community gave back. Today I’m a sophomore in college, and looking back I can see what a huge effect it had on me. I decided to narrow it down to four of the biggest impacts volunteering had on me:
I can’t tell you how much I opened up because of volunteering. I was a naturally shy person growing up; I hated talking to people I didn’t know or “putting myself out there” in any way. Once I had to start talking to new people, I began to gain more confidence in myself and started coming out of my shell. Now I feel far more confident than I did before I started volunteering. Heck, I even volunteered to be part of a fashion show last year!
2. Work Ethic
Giving girls a chance to start learning skills such as being on time, communicating well, and working with other people is incredibly valuable. These are skills that I still put to use today, whether it comes to a group project or working a part-time job. I had to learn to be on time, how to communicate well, how to finish tasks in a timely manner, and a number of other skills that have all made my college and work life easier. (Not to mention, volunteering always looks nice on a resume!)
When you’re spending hours upon hours working with all kinds of people, it’s hard not to start making friends! I still keep in touch with the girls I volunteered with in National Charity League, even though it’s been years since we moved on to college. I never would have gotten to know the people I know now had I not started getting involved in the community.
There was one time my mom and I went to give flowers to the residents of a senior care center. I remember how their faces brightened up immediately when they saw all the flowers we brought them, and I was able to see first hand how happy it made them all. It was things like this that made volunteering worth it. Being able to see the impact I had on someone else made me a more caring and compassionate person, as well as more aware of what other people are going through around us.
I’m incredibly grateful for the experiences I got from volunteering when I was younger. Although I was reluctant to start, I’m glad my mom pushed me to start giving back to the community (thanks, Mom!). If you have a daughter or you are a young girl yourself, there are plenty of volunteer opportunities out there to get started with!
Click here to sign up to volunteer for the Bianca Rae Foundation!