PHILOSOPHY OF VOLUNTEERISM 5
Volunteerismis the altruistic activity if engagement that is intended to make thequality of life in the society and promote goodness. It is thepractice of doing things for the society without any material orfinancial gain, except for the satisfaction or the self-worth that aperson feels in the process. It is the voluntary work done by someonein the community in order to benefit certain groups of people in thesociety (Weiner,2011).The philosophy of volunteerism is the idea of participating in theworks that benefit the society through voluntary commitment.Volunteerism acts or practices of doing things that benefit thecommunity on a voluntary basis.
Thephilosophy of volunteerism is associated with two major principlesuniversality and transformation. First, volunteerism is a universalpractice that seeks to transform the society through individualinitiatives. For volunteers succeed, it should involve acts orpractices that reflect the universal goodness of humanity. Accordingto Beito et al (2002), this means that the actions of volunteersshould be accepted universally. The other principle is thetransformative potential of the actions involved in the volunteerismpractice. Volunteerism should involve acts that will transform thehuman life of the society and not just work for the society.According to Weiner(2011),this is what leads to the positive impact on the society and leads tothe appreciation of volunteerism. Through transformative acts anduniversal practices, volunteerism becomes a philosophy that canchange the society in any part of the world.
Previously,I thought to be a volunteer is to engage in actions that arevoluntary and not paid, no matter what their impacts are. I thoughtthat volunteers work for the society by engaging in public actionsthat can be seen by others. However, being a volunteer does not haveto be known by other people, it only has to impact people in thesociety. While this is a part of being a volunteer, I now understandthat it takes more than just doing things for the society on avoluntary basis and for no gain. According to Beito et al (2002),being a volunteer involves doing good things that are universallyacceptable and transform the life of another person in the society.By doing such acts voluntarily, and for no gain, a volunteer makes amark on the society by making it better.
Duringthe holiday of the last one year, I had a chance to be a volunteer inone of the community centers in our town. The town was very dirty andwas not suitable for the environment, as well as for aestheticreasons for the town. The small community field that was donated bythe county for children to play was poorly managed and was notconducive for young kids to play at. A friend of mine organized thevoluntary work and asked me to assist to manage the exercise. Ipersonally made two commitments to work and make the place a betterplace. I worked as a volunteer cleaner, and also contributed some ofmy savings towards the purchase of the cleaning materials. Theexercise took us two days to finish the cleanup of the whole town andcut grass in the field to make it better for children to play.
Toanalyze the volunteer exercise, it is important to compare theactivities and contrast them with the principles and techniques ofvolunteerism. My participation in the volunteer work involvedactivities that are universally acceptable and bring universalgoodness of a clean environment. The activities of cleaning up thetown were beneficial to the humanity in the town, just as it could beanywhere else in the world. At the same time, the activities werebeneficial to the environment as the cleanup reduced the pollutionand acted as an example for others to follow in preserving theenvironment.
Atthe same time, the exercise sought to transform the society byproviding a clean and safe environment. The cleanup volunteerexercise left the town cleaner than it was and transformed its faceand that of the field. The transformative potential of the volunteerwork also touched on improving the potential of the young childrenwho play on the field. Through the clean up and the caring of thefield, the potential of the people in the society was realized asthose who participated recognized their role in making the townbetter for living.
Volunteerismshould be a continuous process that should consistently change thelife of people. In contrast to this practice of volunteerism, ourproject did not continue for a long time. We only did two cleanupsand the program has not yet been done again. My friend got committedat work, and I turned full attention to studies. This is thelimitation of the volunteer program because we did not mentor otherpeople to continue with the volunteer program. While the program didnot continue, we made a significant mark in the town because peoplebecame conscious of cleanliness of the environment. Since then, thetown is clean because the business enterprises in the town wereinvolved and they are committed to making their environment better.
Beito,D.T., Gordon, P., & Tabarrok, A. (2002). TheVoluntary City: Choice, Community and Civil Society.Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press
Weiner,B. (2011). Volunteerism.Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State University