Why do we volunteer? To most people, a volunteer is “someone who contributes time to helping others with no expectation of pay or other material benefit to herself.” However, this does not mean that volunteer work is of no consequence for the volunteer. Volunteer work is intended to promote good or improve human quality of life, but people also volunteer for a variety of other reasons that could be considered self-serving. As I grew up, my perceptions of volunteer work changed. I transitioned from being forced to volunteer by my parents to wanting to volunteer regularly.
When I was in fifth grade, my temple was offering classes to help educate people about the implications of Social Security and Medicare benefits. My mother signed me up to help the teacher with tedious paper work. I honestly hated volunteering every week, but I thought about how I was helping the people of my religious community. When I was Hindu, I was taught that volunteering was like the Law of Conservation of Energy; all the energy I spent in volunteering would be transferred to the people I was helping. I tried to apply this principle to all the work I did.
In 2006, I began to question my faith and contemplate the implications of what I was about to do. Finally, I decided to tell my parents about my decision to not be Hindu and decided I wanted to volunteer at a hospital and nursing home to help people that would be more greatly influenced by my presence. My grandmother lives in the nursing home where I volunteer, so I get to spend quality time with her and helping the elderly have a good time. That feeling I get when an old lady tells me I remind her of her grandson is just incomparable to anything else.
What would the world come to if people did not strive to help themselves? Would more be accomplished or nothing at all? When is helping oneself self-interest, and when is it rude and selfish? How far does one have to go to not be selfish? In order to be not selfish, must a person spent all their time giving to others? Is in a way giving to others even show selfishness? If that is true is it ...
In conclusion, I found that there where two major areas in my life those were greatly influenced, and positively affected by being a part of Service. The first area relates to commitment. When I first signed up for volunteering, I was not very thrilled about doing so much work. I felt that I had too much to do, and to little time to do it in. I thought that there would be no way I could volunteer for seventy-five hours, work, and go to school full time, but I decided that I would try it. I felt that if the volunteer work did not fit into my schedule, or if I did not have enough time for it, I would just not go. I had no level of commitment at all to the volunteer work in the very beginning. It was a wonderful and exciting day. The drudging volunteer work became more to me like a magnificent opportunity.
The second area involved deals with selfishness. At first, like most of the world, I was only concerned about myself. I wanted to do only what Shahil wanted to do. Through volunteer work I began to see that the true joy in life was not pleasing me, but in pleasing others. When I saw the looks on the people’s faces as I conversed with them, or when I would show the residents of the nursing home the Summer schedule, a joy filled my life that I never received by trying to please myself.