Volunteering can mean many things to many people. We caught up with some of you to find out where in the world you’ve been making a difference…
Lindsay has had several volunteer roles including: Federation of Army Wives and HIVE in the ‘80s and more recently organised a community fair and ran 17kms, while wearing bunny ears, during COVID-19.
Lindsay says: “I like to volunteer as a way of tapping into my local community and that’s never been more important than when I’ve been overseas. I started out in Germany in the ‘80s, and the roles led to paid employment. I’ve lost count over the years of how many committees I’ve sat on; I must have baked at least a squadron’s weight in cakes whilst having huge amounts of fun at so many events.
“Fast forward to Germany now and although patch life is very different, there’s still a chance to share your time and skills. When my children were very young, I did loads of hands-on stuff. I had a background in early years project management and wanted to put this to good use. Since then, work has changed and I no longer have this time; but I do have experience, resources and contacts to enable and support others. So I’m still volunteering but time-limited with a clear beginning and end.”
Advice to others
“We sometimes worry that volunteering will become all-consuming. You don’t have to say yes to everything and I think that’s important. One-off voluntary ‘jobs’ often come with benefits, whether that’s a friendship made or simply learning a new German phrase. Take the plunge and do what you can to support your community,” says Lindsay.
Volunteering can be a lifesaver
Laura (pictured right in main image above) volunteers as a girl guide leader for British Guides Overseas in Cyprus.
Laura says: “It may seem a weird fit for an American with no kids, but volunteering has been a lifesaver while being overseas with my husband so busy and then deployed. It’s got me out of the house and interacting with a unique group of people. During a leadership development week for women aged 18 – 30, which took place in multiple locations around the world, I worked as part of an international team to help women from 14 different countries not only improve their own leadership skills, but also to give them the tools to run events for girls in their own communities. I’ve now made friends in lots of far flung places and it’s given me confidence to stand up in my community and say, ‘I can do that’.”
What skills have you learnt?
“The skills I’ve learnt are invaluable and the opportunities have been life changing. Event planning, programme design, virtual collaboration, advanced facilitation and cross-cultural communication will keep my CV fresh and help me get back into work when we return to the UK,” she says.
Advice to others
“These skills are all buzzwords that could make you stand out in job applications and will give you strong examples to use during interview questions,” adds Laura.