Alternative volunteering experiences

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Re: “Half-hearted volunteering a waste”
Feb. 25, 2009

To the editor:
I agree with the concerns mentioned by the author and feel that volunteering for a resumé defeats its purpose in the first place. Having returned from volunteering in Costa Rica during Reading Week with Alternative Spring Break, I can honestly say that it was one of the most memorable experiences of my undergraduate career.

Our team worked in two medical clinics in the capital San José, as well as in rural Costa Rica, to serve those who do not have the means to access basic health care and medicine. We experienced first-hand how our enthusiasm had such positive effects on the patients that we served and we were grateful for their appreciation of our presence in their communities. In turn, we were rewarded with far more than I could have ever imagined. I can’t say yet whether the experience has been life changing but it has inspired, as well as challenged, many on our team to live our lives with a sense of meaning and purpose.

The old adage is true: what you receive from your experiences is only equal to what you put into it. Those individuals who are truly passionate about their work are the volunteers who have the biggest impact on those they serve and in return, have the most to gain from their experiences. There are students out there that do volunteer with passion and purpose, not only with Alternative Spring Break but also in organizations all across campus and in the London community.

For those who are looking to volunteer, perhaps devoting time to doing what you are interested in will be far better than doing what you think future employers are interested in. Be willing to share your energy and dedication because you never know what lessons you may learn or what new opportunities and experiences you may discover.
" Shaun Jiang
Biochemistry and Cell Biology IV

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