Written by Jenny McWhirter on 02 / 12 / 2016
Gap Year Advice
International Volunteering Day: Lets Do Our Bit...
So, it’s International Volunteering Day on the 5th December. That’s right. Put dreaming about how much turkey you’re going to eat at Christmas on hold and think about what good you can do for your local community during the festive season. From community building in Tanzania to planting seedlings along your local river, do your bit by contributing to a local community.
I.V.D aims to raise awareness and understanding of what good volunteering can bring to a community by recognising those who have done that little bit extra in contributing to local, national or global goals. It is a day to celebrate the power and the potential of volunteering - an altruistic activity, done for no financial gain.
Anyone can volunteer and it can be a great way to meet new people, learn new skills or use existing ones. But above all that, it's about making a positive difference to your community and by taking action, however small, it will have a positive impact on yourself - helping others will spark the feel good factor within. It also adds great flavour to your CV as it will show case the type of person you are - compassionate, team player and generous.
Volunteering within your local community helps to develop and expand the community, which in turn contributes towards national and global sustainable development goals, as stated by the United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-Moon.
There are, as you would imagine, many ways to get involved within your local community with activities and projects ranging from sporting/outdoor activities to community gardening and minibus driving, (you get the idea). So think about what interests you and what skills you’d like to pick up or build on and go from there.
You can sign up for local volunteering activities or organisations online. There are multiple websites that contain all the volunteering opportunities within your local area, such as the UK database called Do-it, which contains over one million volunteering opportunities across the country... so no excuses.
However, if you want to spread your horizons and combine 'volunteering with travel' then of course that can be easily arranged - this is our, of course, our speciality.
There are so many NGO's overseas who need extra manpower to reach their project goals. They would bite your hand off if you offer up your time and energy. From reforestation in the Philippines (making good after the cyclones), to 'rewilding' a game reserve in Namibia (after being destroyed from hunting), to helping in a turtle hatchery in Costa Rica.. the options are endless for volunteering overseas whilst on you Gap Year.
As crazy as it may sound, there is spare time between all the fun, games and learning at university, so you are perfect candidates to put your best foot forward.
S.C.A (Student Community Action) have just this idea in mind - it’s an organisation run by students within your university and is heavily focused on community action. From dog walking to computer classes for the elderly, there are many projects that are run for the 1000+ students who participate within their S.C.A.
If you get the volunteering bug then it is possible for you to volunteer and travel during your summer holidays as many gap year companies can organise summer volunteering programs for you across the globe, such as The Leap’s very own 6 week summer programs that run from the beginning of July and are designed for exactly those students who are unable to get away at any other time of year but can’t not live with out their fair share of Forest Conservation in Madagascar or Community Building in Peru.
If you have any questions about how to get involved then let us know - always happy to help. Or if you have any advice for fellow readers, jot it down in the comments below :)
But if you’re struggling to find out about overseas volunteering, just download our 'Gap Year Guide' which will provide all the contacts you'll need or call us on 01672 519922.
I'm Interested, Tell Me More!
on 02 / 12 / 2016