Don’t know if volunteering is right for you? Figure out your why.
Jess, our director is always asking the staff, children and any volunteers associated with the charity to “‘get back to your why”. Lost motivation for doing something?, well “come back to your why”. Lost direction? Again, “figure out your why, what’s the real motivation”. If you ever visit The AVAid office you’ll see on Jess’s computer screen she has a post it stuck on there, say’s one word-WHY. She’s got us using this, can I say method? Every time we’re stuck for motivation. And, well, we now have no excuses to slack off, once we get back to our motivation we’re back on a roll. It’s now the first question we ask any of our volunteers when they apply for a placement. We love getting people back to their reason for wanting to volunteer.
So, we thought it only fitting to get Jess’s motivation for volunteering. What started her journey to creating lasting impact in Africa and we’re excited to her story.
“I’d never thought about volunteering to be honest. It was never something on my bucket list. I had always envisioned myself on more tropical and relaxing holidays, sunbaking on beaches and exploring the hidden treasures of Europe. Never spending weeks in a guest house sharing a bathroom with 4 other people.
It wasn’t until my dad got cancer. During this period, he decided to utilize his time volunteering in outback indigenous communities in Australia, teaching the local folk all things nutrition and how to cook (he’s a chef). Listening to the stories he would come home with and how saddened he was by what he experienced I thought to myself “I’m 23 and healthy, my dad’s late 40’s and sick. If he’s still able to help people and create a positive impact in communities then any excuse I could come up with and muster are nil and void.
So, I started looking into overseas volunteering. I knew now I wanted to make a difference, but I didn’t know where to start. Ad after ad popped up on all the search engines, all promising a volunteer vacation unlike any other. But I noticed that this repetition promised an experience with a price tag. I kind of thought to myself “why am I paying to volunteer? Especially $1000’s?” However, after finding one I could afford I went ahead and booked. Organised time off work and started planning and getting excited for my trip.
This would be my first time traveling alone to a foreign country and the excitement and adrenalin rush I got from this thought alone was almost enough to get me on the first flight to Africa. Why did I choose Africa, well why not? I’d never been before, never experienced poverty before and I had the weird egotistical idea that being able to say “I’ve volunteered with orphans in Africa” was abit of a bragging right.
Had I been asked to put down my why before I made my first journey to Africa it would have been 50% because I could then say I’ve done it and 50% because if my father. I think if he hadn’t had volunteered while he had cancer I don’t know I would ever have had the idea or courage to pursue overseas volunteering. So I guess he’s to thanks”
Now it’s your turn, tell us your why!