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Before discussing the questions where and how to volunteer, it is necessary to have a quick look at the basics. What is the general meaning of volunteering? Although various portals and organizations use different definitions, the overall concept is the same – voluntary activity refers to helping someone without receiving direct benefits in return. The difference between employment and volunteering lies in monetary remuneration – receiving a salary for doing a job excludes the possibility that the activity is voluntary.
But what are the opportunities for volunteering? Let’s be honest, the variety is enormous! The scope of volunteering ranges from small-scale projects to global activities. For example, we all have the opportunity to put our shoulder under a project for building a neighbourhood playground, raking autumn leaves or organizing a flea market and donating the profit to charity. Volunteering also includes involvement in an organization and taking obligations voluntarily. For example, you could be a tutor of young boy scouts or girl guides without doing it for a charge. Alternatively, you could organize weekly dance lessons and use the profit solely for paying the fee of the premises rented for the course. Several projects look for volunteers who would give their contribution to organizing various events, for example at schools or even on the national level. All you need to do is to be active and to share your enthusiasm with others.
Volunteering is more and more appreciated in Estonia, and social media contains frequent calls for voluntary contribution. People are encouraged to donate clothes and commodities to African children or families of our fellow citizens who have lost their residences in a fire. Organizations seek host homes for kittens and cats and inspire people to take walks with dogs from shelters. A municipal authority might ask voluntary artists to paint over an outworn wooden fence to give it a fresh and modern look. Many youth organizations cherish an active group of expeditious, enterprising and cheerful volunteers who are reliable and put their hand to the plough in a wide range of activities. And always voluntarily!
However, Estonia is not the only place where to get involved with voluntary activities. If you think bigger or would like to give your contribution in another culture and society, you should have a look at European Voluntary Service, which provides youth with extremely favourable and convenient opportunities for combining voluntary activities with travelling as well as discovering the world and new aspects of oneself.
Of course, you might ask why you should get involved with voluntary work after all. Why should anyone do something that he or she is not paid for, but what takes time, energy and other resources? The answer includes several arguments. For example, volunteering gives numerous experiences, which we may not get in our everyday lives. Many volunteers find from their service kindred spirits, friends and even partners for life. And you should not underestimate the fact that managers of companies are also involved with voluntary activities, and when they encounter energetic and efficient volunteers who give their contribution to the community, the managers might come to the conclusion that the company needs people with exactly these qualities. In many cases voluntary service has developed into real employment and actual work relationship. In addition, voluntary contribution into the society gives a good feeling, sense of morality and the knowledge that you have personally done something for making the world a better place. What could be more positive?
Be active and get involved today! There are several organizations and associations in Estonia, waiting for the support of volunteers. For example, you could check the websites of Vabatahtlike Värav, voluntary rescuers, Heateo Sihtasutus, Toeta, and Osalusveeb.
There are countless volunteering opportunities, and if you are willing to give your contribution, you will definitely find a perfect option!