As a Canadian, the idea of volunteering in another part of the country, the United States or a country in another continent is particularly daunting for me. However, the experience is tremendously satisfying in other ways. As with any venture in life, there are going to be ups and downs, strikes and gutters. But if you have a core reason for wanting to volunteer, the experience will likely be overwhelmingly beneficial and positive.
Life Altering Experiences
People choose to volunteer for a variety of reasons, but there is common ground with each of them: to assist those in need. That goal is the same whether volunteering as a part of a peacekeeping, humanitarian or religious mission. Everyone takes something different away from these experiences.
One woman volunteered as a part of her Church’s missionary program, and she went to Africa. While the conditions were worse there than they are for most of the downtrodden in Canada, she came home with a better appreciation for how fortunate she is. Another man helped with the Hurricane Katrina clean up in New Orleans as part of a construction team.
While that was his job, he wound up volunteering part of his time after long days working because he couldn’t bring himself to do any less. Disaster brings people together like nothing else, and the sense of purpose involved in a relief effort of any kind creates a sense of overwhelming compassion in many. That sense compassion often stays with a person for life to the betterment of family and community.
The Logistics of Volunteering
The ideal time in life to volunteer is fresh out of high school or college. Most possessions are still in the childhood home, and parents are usually good with allowing a kid to keep things there when they head off to volunteer. When one half of a couple, married or otherwise committed, goes off to volunteer, the other stays home to keep things running.
However, those who are single have other things to consider. People who have mortgages will have to figure out how to pay them while away. What about an apartment lease? Will the landlord agree to a sublet or will the apartment have to go? When a dwelling is involved, it is often easier to consider using a storage solution like StorageMart.
Such storage companies offer long term storage options at reasonable rates that make the idea of leaving for a long period easier to deal with. They are often more affordable than rent prices and take the hassle out finding someone reliable enough to take over a lease.
A long-term volunteer program is certainly a marvelous and gratifying venture for many. Before you take on a volunteering job though you should have a clear purpose for why you are doing so. What do you hope to get out of the experience? If you can clearly answer this question, you will probably have a rewarding experience.