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Volunteering Virgins

JamesJames Posts: 1,706 Extreme Poster
It's been brilliant reading about all your volunteering experiences in the threads 'where do you volunteer' and 'Bizzaro'. A lot of you are clearly really dedicated volunteers!

But let's try and balance this see-saw!
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Lots of you will have never tried volunteering, or will have tried it and not gone back.

So, if you're a volunteering virgin, what holds you back?
Maybe you don't know how to get started? Maybe the idea is a bit intimidating? Or maybe it just doesn't appeal to you?

It'd be interesting to read your thoughts :)

P.S. Don't forget about our volunteering motto competition ;)
P.P.S. There's a prize!

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Intimidating, in what way?
  • JamesJames Posts: 1,706 Extreme Poster
    Good question :)
    Well, for some people, the idea of meeting lots of new people, or starting something new could be a bit intimidating. Volunteering can take us out of our comfort zone, which isn't always easy.. What do you think?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Yep, I agree.

    The thought of meeting new people terrifies me, which is what holds me back the most.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I agree with butterfly123, meeting new people is scary and is something which I find really hard.
  • AuroraAurora Part of the furniture Posts: 11,720 An Original Mixlorian
    I've done my fair share off volunteering, but I know many people without the skills, mostly due to the fact their far to busy, or filled with anxiety, etc. However, their is so much to do in the volunteering area, and it's not always the need to socialize, for example, starting in garden projects. A friend of mine got me involved in a garden project 3 years back, where really, were we worked along people with disabilities, supporting them, I think it was with Mencap, or something, can't remember!!

    But you can start small before going to large social volunteering projects, how about helping being a shop stall to start off with, or even look in to garden projects in your area?
  • JamesJames Posts: 1,706 Extreme Poster
    ^ That's really good advice Whispers!

    If the idea of meeting lots of new people seems a bit daunting, there are loads of opportunities that only involve meeting a few.
    You could also try volunteering with a friend for a bit of back-up?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I found a volunteering role for a 'progression mentor'. Here's a description..

    'progression mentoring is to provide personal support, assistance, guidance, encouragement and inspiration to young people with a learning disability for a period of 3-6 months. This role is for a progression mentor to volunteer weekly, during college hours. The volunteer will meet with allocated young people with a learning disability and support them to take positive next steps with their action plans and to reflect, evaluate and recognise their learning and experience. The skills required are commitment, the ability to relate to and empathise with young people and their aspirations, good interpersonal skills and the ability to be non-judgmental, self aware, patient and understanding'.

    I think this sounds amazing and I really want to do it but Aspergers is stopping me. I don't like meeting new people, I'm really quiet until I know people a little more so I'd most probably be more quiet than the child I would be mentoring, I'm scared about going into a college on my own- I might panic and end up not going in, or I might get lost.

    I know this might be silly, but I don't know what 'good interpersonal skills' are?

    I think this would be a good step to take as I have a learning disability myself.
  • AndyAndy Moderator Posts: 185 Settling in
    Hi Butterfly,

    It's great you're looking at some volunteering it looks like a really involving opportunity that you could gain a lot from (as should be the nature with most volunteering roles). It's always nice to read about someone thinking about a volunteering role, as it's often the same thoughts and feelings; worry, excitement, meeting new people, feeling out of your depth, these are all things that everyone encounters when thinking about their first volunteer role.

    If you're hesitant about a few things, it might be worth speaking to the organisation directly, before applying, just to get a bit of a feel for them on the phone or on email and see if you can get them to explain a bit more about the role, and ask them things about 'interpersonal skills' (interpersonal skills is often just a fancy way of saying 'being friendly'). I know that might seem like quite a big step to give them a call, but it could really help in deciding if the opportunity and organisation is right for you.

    You've also got personal experience with a learning disability and that is something that can really give you a nice insight into the young people that you will be volunteering with. Knowing what they're experiencing and going through can help you become a fantastic volunteer for those young people and the organisation would really love that.

    I understand it's hard to get started with something like this, but there's always going to be things that you?ll be nervous about and I suppose sometimes volunteering can help with confronting those things and help you overcome them, in that instance. As you say yourself though, you think it would be a good step.

    What is it exactly you're worried about? Is it just trying something new? Do you feel less worried about meeting somebody one on one? It seems like most of the volunteering would be one to one so maybe that's something.

    Let us know how you get on and if you've got other questions or thoughts post them in here.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Thanks duke,

    For me it's people that are the most worrying thing. Walking into a college alone terrifies me because I feel like everyone will look at me and judge me, the same with the training I would get. I'm scared of the thought that I'd have to walk up to someone and introduce myself so that they know why I'm there. Aspergers makes these feelings worse, if I'm out at a busy place or I walk past people I don't know or I nip to the shop, I instantly feel like people are staring and judging me so I keep my head down whenever there's people. This would be the case with the volunteering role, and I'd get refused if I was like that, wouldn't I? You have to at least come across as confident, but I'm not confident and I will never come across as it.

    The one to one with the child would still be hard but I do think I'd get past that. I looked after a child with ADHD but he is the most polite little boy I've ever met.
  • AndyAndy Moderator Posts: 185 Settling in
    It's good that you've recognised that you don't mind being one-to-one with a child, I'm sure that's something to hold on to.

    Have you thought about dropping the organisation an email, maybe explaining how you're feeling? It's often a really good step to contact the organisation and can help you really think if they are the right organisation for you.

    On a more practical note, have you ever been to the college itself? Do you know the area at all? Could you visit it on a quiet Sunday with a friend? These sort of things can help you overcome those initial feelings, espeically if it's a new place that you've not been to before.

    Before going you may want to print out the route from google maps, and keep that with you. Maybe look for a nice coffeeshop nearby as well so you can have a little stop off when you get there.

    What do you think?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I will look into emailing the organisation to explain how I'm feeling.

    I did actually go to this college a couple of years ago for a little while. I went on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. We had three certain rooms we used for each day as we had three different tutors so I don't know the college that well. I used to go in, go straight to whatever room I was in on that day, work in that room through lunch or go into town with my friend, then I went home. I never explored the college as it's massive and there are three different buildings to it.

    I know the town well though. There's a costa literally about two minutes away from the college.

    I'm quite scared of the journey as it's people and an unknown route. Jo has suggested something that could maybe help with that.

    Thanks for your reply.
  • AndyAndy Moderator Posts: 185 Settling in
    Great, it definitely sounds like you've got a good idea of what's in the area.

    If you want to post the email that you're planning in here, or just if you've got any questions about the email and what you want to say in it, put it in here and we'll give you a hand.
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