What does it mean to volunteer? Why is it so important? For myself, being an AmeriCorps member serving with the Pittsburgh HealthCorps, the act is pretty much natural. I hadn’t incorporated volunteering into my life until the end of my college career and I think it was the perfect time to do so. My age and maturity level were finally running on a parallel path. Everyday I wake up, I realize that what I do day in and day out is not for myself, rather it is for everyone else, including my temporary home/community in Pittsburgh, my Pittsburgh HealthCorps family, our Global Links partnering countries, and most importantly our Global Links volunteers!
Volunteers are the concrete foundation of this wonderful non-profit organization and they strictly love it. Every day new/returning volunteers walk in the door and I get to greet them! I get to overload them with information regarding the organization which I have fallen in love with. Then, I get to understand why they volunteer, what motivates them to do so, and how it impacts and affects their lives (and much of the time, how they have fallen in love also). I will say that I enjoy the company of others to no limit, and having been placed at a site which I can most closely relate and connect with volunteers has been nothing but a blessing. The passion and dedication that some of our volunteers have is priceless. Priceless, no pun intended. This passion is not only seen within our building, but maybe in front of a sewing machine, 80 baby bags later, sewn by a relatively new, fascinated and head-over-heels volunteer.
Every year our volunteers put in over 10,000 hours of dedicated time, turning our goal into their goal. It is a humbling experience to come to work and be part of such a relaxing, calming, and motivated environment. As many know, things change constantly at Global Links and the flexible dynamic of our volunteers really shows the support that we have behind us. It has been nothing but a pleasure to find myself constantly surrounded by volunteers who have the same strictly love relationship for volunteering as I do.
Volunteering is an overall great experience. It gives us the opportunity to learn about ourselves, to learn about those around us, to build new relationships, and in some cases of international volunteering we can learn about a completely different culture. Whatever our reasons for volunteering may be, someone’s quality of life is benefiting.