Amanda gives us her wisdom about volunteering.

Looking after other people (being a friend, a good member of the community or taking on a cause) are all ways to help other people

One of the best ways to help look after other people is by volunteering! If you volunteer in an area that you are passionate about you are likely to be more committed and so, make a bigger difference. Allow your actions to be led from a place of passion. That way all the hard work will be worth it, you will be more committed to the cause and as a result, your impact will be that much bigger.

I first started working at Phase as a volunteer, so I can really see the value in volunteering. Volunteering isn’t just something you do if you find you have nothing really to do in your day, it’s something that you feel called to do – to give back to other people and to follow a passion. Phase has been blessed with volunteers from all walks of life and who work all sorts of hours: from students taking a gap year to full time employees who come into the office in their flexi time or after they finish work! People choose to volunteer for a variety of reasons. For some it offers the chance to give something back to the community or make a difference to the people around them. For others it provides an opportunity to develop new skills or build on existing experience and knowledge.

The work we do at Phase is centred around young people – and yet a lot of our volunteers don’t ever get to encounter a young person! Currently we have around 50 people volunteering for Phase on a regular basis. Only around 14 of them work with us in primary or secondary schools, the rest are involved in areas such as:
• promotion of Phase to their church members
• supporting us in the office or with technical matters
• fundraising on a regular basis
• praying every day for our work
• governance and leadership

In case you needed any more convincing, here are my five reasons why I think volunteering is good for you…

1. Make a difference
Volunteering, at home or abroad, gives you the chance to vote every day about the kind of community and world you want to live in. It gives you the opportunity to be a part of something bigger than yourself and use your civic responsibility to empower people.

2. Meeting people
Volunteering can help you meet different kinds of people and make new friends that you might not otherwise come across. It gives you the chance to form real relationships that can have a lasting impact on your life. You could meet your new best friend, future business partner or have a conversation that sparks a real change in your life.

3. Learn new skills and boost your CV
Employers just love a candidate with a range of soft skills and, luckily, volunteering gives you plenty of those. You are faced with problems on a daily basis, you have to deal with a mix of personalities and all while adjusting to life outside of your comfort zone. This all adds up and helps to improve your teamwork, leadership, problem-solving and people skills. All in all, another excellent reason to get out there and volunteer.

4. Improve your health
Studies have found that when you stop thinking about your own problems and issues and focus on other people, your stress levels actually start to decrease. Your immune system becomes stronger and your ability to cope with ill health improves. This is because helping someone else interrupts tension-producing patterns, replacing them with a sense of purpose, positive emotions and better confidence and improved self-esteem. If you are still not sure have a look at this infographic from United Health Care Group.

5. Have fun!
Doing things that are out of the ordinary, meeting new people, freely giving your time, energy, and resources to people and causes around the world can create change on a global scale. It is incredible to think that one person’s efforts can change the life of someone else somewhere in the world.

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