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    Volunteer Work
    • Some of the most rewarding experiences I've ever had have come from the volunteer work that I've done. And - I'm always looking for new ways to help enrich my community! So, ZU, I turn to you. What has been your most rewarding volunteer experience? Small or large, it doesn't matter - share it! Whether it's mandated by school/work, or done in your own free time, it's all important! :3

      How often do you help others?

      Who do you help?

      How do you help?

      My most rewarding volunteer experience has come from teaching free dance classes to at-risk youth in my community. With the help of one of my dance co-workers, we've set up a program in a few elementary schools & after school clubs where kids can take free hip hop classes. And they love it! I always feel so full of joy when I see how happy these kids who come week after week get after just an hour of moving and grooving. :)
    • Best volunteer experience was working with horses and people with disabilities to teach them how to ride. That was really cool.

      Tbh I haven’t volunteered in a LONG time, tried volunteering with animal rescues but the people didn’t jive with me. There’s always some crusty old alpha female and it’s like lady get over yourself and let me play with the dogs. But it’s all good I’ll find a good group to volunteer with eventually!
    • I volunteer at animal shelters whenever I can. Mostly giving them all baths haha, but I do take them out and play with them and do some in general cleaning as well. Lately I've been wanting to volunteer for some programs that help people with disabilities and some food drive organizations, so I think I'll start doing that soon as well.
      "Go on your path, even if you live for a day." - Park Jimin

      \ Love Yourself /
    • My most rewarding volunteering was as an undercover officer for the Gay Agenda (tm). I'm serious. I was a youth leader in a church for about five years or so (I can hardly remember), and I made it my job to provide a safe space and a shield for pretty much every single young person that was some variant of LGBT. They didn't exactly have a choice as to whether to attend church or not, because they were literally there to have their gay prayed away. As long as I was there, I didn't let that shit happen, hahaha.

      Unfortunately, my long term outlook took a turn for the worst and I was outed and thrown out, but I actually had more than a few parents track me down nearly <censored> years later to tell me that they were so thankful for what I'd done for their kids. So, I considered the whole thing to have been worth it.

      Other than that, I have been a volunteer on many websites over the years as an admin or behind-the-scenes technowonk, and I think that I've made quite a difference in a lot of people's lives due to this. Actually... It was weird but someone from our distant past tracked down Chel and I to thank both of us for the impact that we'd had on him... Like... A long fucking time ago (in internet time).

      Currently, I don't do any volunteering except working on my open source project, and I'm not sure that this counts since it's just a hobby that I do for me.
    • @Zephyr Crow I didn't even think about modding as volunteer work! I just like it so much. But yes, now I will consider it volunteer work and it will make me feel better about sitting around talking about videogames and such and be like "I am helping the world!" Also, you guys will be proud--I signed up to donate blood today. Haven't done that in awhile because the last time they stuck my bicep and I couldn't lift for a month. The nurses better get it right this time! And if they don't... I will ask for not one, but two juices!
    • Winnie wrote:

      "I am helping the world!"
      You know, it might sound funny, but you actually are.

      Never underestimate your impact as a site mod/admin in the form of a role model and authority figure.

      Chel and I have had people give speeches about us at their high school graduations (we were their heroes and mentors apparently), declare us to be their stand-in parents, and credit us with making remarkably positive impacts in their lives.

      I mean, we've also had death threats, had a site overran with nazis, and had to live in fear of getting shot and killed for a short while due to daring escapades to help an abused member.

      In general, sometimes I actually feel extremely burned when I think about my online volunteering "career". I've done interventions when people were suicidal, helped keep friends together, gotten into absolute knock-down drag-out fights with the equivalent of online gangs, and had way too many people declare their undying love for me (guys tho which is a bit of an issue when you're a lesbian).

      Even when all you're doing is shitposting with people... It's worth considering that, for some, you may be one of the few pleasant authority figures that they ever interact with.

      One of my best friends for a long time was a guy from a third world country where everything was horrific and terrible. He liked me because "you manage to have authority without being an asshole, and it inspires me to do better".

      I'm just saying... I'm proud of the impact that I've had as a mod/admin over the years... Even if I sometimes actually do wish that I could have done/been better, hahaha.
    • Winnie wrote:

      @Zephyr Crow I didn't even think about modding as volunteer work! I just like it so much. But yes, now I will consider it volunteer work and it will make me feel better about sitting around talking about videogames and such and be like "I am helping the world!"
      You absolutely are helping to better the world through modding. I know that I, personally, am inspired by you in my attempt to be the best person I can be. So - thank you for all the good that you do here!

      Zephyr Crow wrote:

      I'm just saying... I'm proud of the impact that I've had as a mod/admin over the years... Even if I sometimes actually do wish that I could have done/been better, hahaha.
      The same sentiment goes for you, Zephyr. I love being a part of your online community! I know that a lot of HARD work goes into creating a space like your forum, and I know that you're doing it for the joy of it & not for financial gain (though I know that would be really nice lol). So thank you!
    • Might aswell add my story to this.

      After graduating from school in 2015 I had a plan on what I wanted to study at university but still wanted to get some experience. So I signed up for a program here in Germany called FsJ which roughly translates to "voluntary social year" and is is a state-funded voluntary work program particularly for young adults.

      During those actually "just" 9 months, I worked in a special-needs school. It was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life so far. I worked with first graders which was fun and exhausting every single day. It never got boring since working with mentally as well as physically disabled children let every day be unique. There was one kid named Finn, who's genetically caused disability wouldn't let him get past the ages of 9 or 10, he turned out to be my "protégé". I worked with him more than with any other kid and spent hours teaching him certain topics the teachers would give me material for or would just play with him since he was very shy towards other children. When I had to leave he cried fairly hard which left me feeling pretty empty. It was then that I decided I couldn't fulfill my dream of working as a teacher at a special-needs school. I would constantly take problems, sorrow and death with me wherever I went, especially at home. Work would feel like a heavy burden on my shoulders and I couldn't carry all the emotions and cut a line between work and my free time. Working there was amazing but it's something you should be able to handle emotionally.

      After that I decided I still wanted to be a teacher because I adore children and love working with them. Especially small children. So I decided on a year of federal voluntary service in an elementary school. I mostly worked in first and second grade classes as well as in the cafeteria. During the year I bonded with so many children, learned a lot, had my own little activity classes in the afternoon, etc etc etc. Needless to say: I still work there as an honorary worker 6 hours a week whilst studying in university.

      So the voluntary working has helped me come to the conclusion that I'll study German and English at university to be a teacher for elementary schools.

      Kids are amazing. So is voluntary work, very rewarding and helpful at the same time.
      Tell me, do you ever feel a strange sadness as dusk falls?
      They say it's the only time when our world connects with theirs...
      The only time we can feel the lingering regrets of spirits who have left our world.
      That is why loneliness always pervades the hour of twilight...
    • i used to volunteer a lot before i got fulltime work, now i only do like a day a month.

      i volunteered during a political campaign for the australian greens and then at a charity at the same time, where i was doing media officer work. so like writing press releases, policy briefs (like a one pager that outlines the party's view on an issue) and pitching stories to media.

      but then i was also volunteering for this organisation called the office of the public advocate, where i would audit the homes of people living in residential supported services. so essentially i would visit this house with 4-5 people with cognitive disabilities, and then write a report on the condition of the house and how well the human rights of these residents was being respected and uplifted. i did that for three years

      then i went back to one girl as their media team leader and i did that for like two years?

      then i went back to the greens and did some media stuff for a senator

      and now i am the head of advocacy for this little org called the venezuelan australian democratic council, which lobbies diff people on issues affecting the venezuelan community here as well as foreign policy of the party. and for this i basically write letters to different stakeholders and then hold meetings with them to try and convince them to do what i ask them to
    • I'm registered as a volunteer at my local animal shelter, but I haven't been since my orientation. It's hard to find time since my boyfriend and I both work full-time and only have one car at the moment.

      I also emailed my elementary school librarian a week or so ago about volunteering in the afternoons next school year. Hopefully I hear something back soon so I can get some relevant future career experience!
    • ^Like Orchid during high school I volunteered at my local ASPCA. I felt I didn't do much, cleaning enclosures and whatnot, but I kept the cats company; just seeing them enthused to be interacted with after being cooped up in their cages brought me joy.

      Technically this is not volunteer work, as it's part of my curriculum, but my school psychology practicum. To put what I'm learning into practice is very fulfilling, and it doesn't hurt that my supervisor takes me and the other intern out for appreciation lunches. I may be paying my way through university and working for free, but the experience is definitely rewarding.
    • For me my most influential time I volunteered was probably junior year of high school after I left my engineering class. That place was extremely rude and toxic, filled with hateful and unkind people who hate me, and denigrated me, considering me as subservient to them. It came to a head when the teacher verbally abused me in front of the class and I nearly assaulted him out of anger, but instead I grabbed my stuff, called him some names that he deserved to be called, and just walked out. The only open class I could transfer to was to be a teacher's assistant in the special education department, where I talked to students, watched them, and gave them support. And that time was amazing because I got a chance to open up myself, and not be afraid to be myself as well. And it helped me find my passion in helping and assisting others.

      As for the future? I love animals and the outdoors, and I want to try to find some opportunities to volunteer with the local herpetological society or a wildlife refuge center so I can learn more about how to care for some of these animals, considering I love animals, and might want to keep an exotic pet in the future. I figure experiencing what it's like to care for them and how to handle them might be a good skill to have before I decide to keep one, especially considering how complex the care requirements can be, especially for larger species of lizards like monitors or tegus. Which I absolutely love.

      So yeah, I love volunteering and serving others. I get to help people, learn new skills, and make a difference at the same time, which is awesome. Aside from the time requirements, I can't see why more people don't volunteer.
      I AM TAKANUVA, TOA OF LIGHT!

      You'll be hearing my name someday, whenever people talk about heroes - Takua!