Today’s blog comes from our new Head of Volunteer Programmes, Anneke.
‘Volunteers are not the icing on top of the cake but the fruit inside the cake’ became part of the agenda at a recent conference I attended. The statement seemed to go under the radar for a lot of other organisations that were attending, but it stuck out like a hair in a cake in terms of relating it to the volunteers that regularly give their time to Body & Soul.
Without volunteers, organisations like Body & Soul would not be able to deliver the high quality service we offer. Volunteers bring different and certainly more diverse skills to the service compared to the staff alone. Teaching break dancing, slack lining, and music or baking whilst facilitating the workshop in an age-appropriate way and engaging all attendees takes more than someone just walking through those doors and putting a tick next to their name.
Sometimes the smallest task, like helping a 12 year old to do their homework may feel like you’re not making much of a difference but giving that one child the 1:1 attention that they may not receive anywhere else in their day to day life makes a huge difference.
If you are a committed, regular volunteer, the relationships you build with others can be life changing. It’s the small things such as being the consistency in someone’s life, you may be the only person that greets them with a hug, looks them in the eye, asks ‘how are you?’ and waits to hear the answer.
Redirecting your skills, time and energy through putting it back into the community gives you a sense of fulfillment and achievement. People use their skills day in and day out in their offices, but the sense of fulfillment you get from giving your skills to someone that you wouldn’t usually give to produces a different type of energy and accomplishment.
It helps you get through your normal working week in a positive way. I have volunteers that struggle to come in on a Tuesday evening after working a full day at work, but when they walk out of here at 9:30pm with a huge smile and boundless enthusiasm that I know will push them through the rest of their week.
So, have you found your place were you become the fruit inside the cake rather than the topping? If not, think about where you can be of importance and deliver skills that organisations such as Body & Soul would not normally benefit from.
Are you getting the fulfillment that drives you to power on through the work week? Are you making a difference in someone’s life? Can you be the apple inside the pie?