Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Here at Volunteer Link we have had quite a bit of interest in volunteering recently and this has meant that we have already held one new volunteers training day, with another planned for the end of February. When promoting our volunteering I am focusing on how people can benefit personally and it struck me that learning is a great outcome. I recently quoted to a local university volunteering department:-
Prospective volunteers are eligible for our initial one day volunteer training course which means they meet other volunteers and have the opportunity to learn in a supportive, friendly environment. They learn how to listen, build rapport and create positive relationships, as well as softer skills such as record keeping, boundaries and accountability.
In addition to learning from trainers volunteers also learn from each other. We are lucky enough to have very experienced and interesting people coming forward to volunteer and they are making positive contributions to their training groups.
Volunteers also continually learn as they volunteer, including about the person whom they are befriending and their life, their struggles and ups and downs as well as about carrying out their role in an appropriate and professional way. As volunteers discuss with us at the Volunteer Link office issues that have arisen for their clients they discover what solutions may or may not be available.
We learn throughout our lives one way or another and there is nothing like ‘learning by doing’. Everyone who volunteers is getting something out of it one way or another, and I believe that learning about other people’s lives as well as how to carry out a volunteer role effectively can be very beneficial.