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Essay On Voluntary Services

Voluntary Organisations Essay

Voluntary Organisations
It is common known that “voluntary organisations work for the benefit
of the community, not to make a profit or to meet any statutory
obligation. They do this by acting as advocates and delivering
services. They often involve sections of society whose needs are not
met by the private or public sector. Most voluntary organisations are
working to promote equality of opportunity in some way”

(National Council for voluntary Organisations, 1990, p: 1)

“Voluntary ought to mean simply some activity or undertaking, offered
in an open and generous spirit and given freely without any hint of

(Heginbothman, 1990, p: 3)

Barkhill house-Aim

One such voluntary organisation is the Barkhill House. It is a charity
that aims to help the frail elderly of Newtown and make their lives
better as much as possible while remaining in their own homes. The
Barkhill house Day care centre Club started in 1980 and today
continues to be successful by the fact that the number of elderly that
applies for membership is continually increasing.

How the idea of this voluntary agency came up?

In 1980, Newtown’s welfare committee decided that they wanted to do
something for the old people instead of the lunch clubs and old
people’s clubs in the town so the idea of some form of day centre came
up. Money came from social services and funded the two part time
organisers in the North and the South of the town.

What the club actually do?

This club has a programme of therapeutic activities such as dominoes,
bingo, and movement to music, quiz shows, arts and crafts, and
sing-along. Computers and parties contribute to the members’
stimulation of interest.

The fitter elderly can enjoy facilities such as indoor bowling, tea
dances, woodwork; keep fit, dressmaking and an art class because in
addition to the main purpose to help the frail elderly they must use
the space within the centre. For the members of the club counselling
assistance is also provided. In order all the elderly to be satisfied,
they are being organised different sessions for the disabled and the
more able in terms of physical condition. This happens because the
disabled can not do some of the activities that the more able do. They
are organised for them a lot of different activities on another day.

The Problems that Barkhill house faces:

It must be taken into serious consideration that despite the fact that
Barkhill house has been successful in its target, it also faces many

Ø The Barkhill house it needs money to cover the expenses that come

Ø First of all, the elderly who are members are too many and the small
number of staff find difficulties in taking care all of them, and that
is why there weekly time of attendance has been...

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Guest post by Dylan Manderlink

This post should really be called: “How I learned more about my community and humanity once I stepped outside my college classroom.” You see, going to college in the heart of a city has an abundance of advantages, and many students are quick to take a big gulp of all the opportunities presented by the fast-paced, busy, and unique city landscape.

While internship opportunities, professional networking events for soon-to-be post grads, company hosted events at local restaurants and bars, and higher education possibilities are readily available and most likely taken advantage of by eager 20-somethings, taking time to volunteer at the many nonprofit social/environmental justice organizations, homeless shelters, advocacy centers, philanthropic fundraisers, local schools and child care facilities that complete the city of Boston are not always at the forefront of young people’s minds while navigating through their college experiences.

But, with a little push from student organizations, local nonprofits and passionate individuals, volunteerism and community change can start to take a front seat and become not just an opportunity, but also a priority in the lives of young people.

Volunteerism, civic engagement and advocacy are the driving forces for creating change and making a positive impact in your community and society at large. While gaining internship and job experience can lead to community impact and social change, it’s important for us to remember that before we start advocating for change and informing others about issues we care about, we need to fully understand the complexity and depth of the social, environmental, or economic issue we are passionate about.

Not only do we need to understand the ‘issue’ or ‘societal problem’ that many people face and are impacted by every day, but we need to meet and work alongside those whose daily realities are shaped by injustices, while not creating any divides or barriers in the process. Everyday people are affected by the issues that organizations fight for or against, and once we realize how people-centered things like advocacy, outreach and service are, I believe young people will realize their call to action and their potential in their local landscapes to really affect change.

My Experience

For example: Recently I had a very unique volunteer gig. A few times a semester I would take the Red Line to Quincy to volunteer at the Prison Book Program, where I would read letters from incarcerated individuals from all over the country and find 2-3 books that match their interests and reading criteria. Opening each letter and hearing people’s stories reminded me of the harsh realities of our world today, and the difficulty many people face in preserving their human dignity and self-worth.

Whether guilty of crimes or innocent, our incarceration system is an issue that many activists rally around in terms of its success and promise in correcting and rehabilitating criminal behavior. So, to read letters and hear the voices of those who are living on the marginalized edges of our society, but who rarely have a voice in the issue that’s being nationally rallied around, is an uncommon circumstance that should be noted and have more attention and action drawn to. Their desire to educate themselves within the confines of a prison wall is real and heard by those of us who take time to spend their weekday evenings in the bottom of a church basement, sorting through donated books, and reading literary wish-lists of those who are incarcerated.

Another meaningful experience that sticks out to me is when I regularly volunteered at a children’s homeless shelter in Roxbury, Mass. for two years, and was reminded of the fact that the statistics we hear every day about homelessness are real people – not just numbers. Every child I played alongside, made a puzzle with, and created art work for, reminded me that the largest percentage of people who are homeless is in fact, not the men people see on the street who are waiting in line for the soup kitchen, but families: Mothers, children of all ages, infants, and fathers.

I was reminded that every human and every family deserves a place to call a home, a place to grow up, and a place to feel safe and comfortable. Helping the shelter to provide an afternoon of safety, comfort, respect, and joy for children who don’t have a home or much stability was a small but meaningful contribution to a much greater familial and societal obstacle.

What I Learned

I learned from my volunteer experiences in Boston that people are not powerless; in fact, we have a great deal of power and potential, despite sometimes being told we may not have any because of the zip code we were born in, economic status, family life, sexual orientation, or employment status. Through the volunteering I made as a priority and a cornerstone of my life in college, I learned how empowering it is to realize how much agency you have in your own life and how beautiful it is to share that with others in hopes of them discovering it themselves.

I learned how giving human beings are, even when they don’t have much to give. I learned how one of the biggest equalizers of our society is storytelling and the sharing of self. We open countless doors of understanding, compassion, education, and empathy when we let the chaos and speed of the cityscape subside, and take time to actively listen and communicate with our community members. Our community is a diverse fabric of human beings, and we all have a voice in enacting change, improving the lives of our neighbors, and promoting a more just and verdant world.

I learned that local nonprofit organizations have the potential to amplify their outreach to colleges, and young people in general, through matching passions with skills. You as organizations need to purposefully identify for us why promoting service and civic engagement is not only important, but necessary if we want to improve our lives, the lives of others, and the dilemmas and misfortunes our world faces every day.

The relationship between young people and nonprofits can be the start of a significant change in our community, and should be a reciprocal and powerful educational experience. An open-minded and encouraging flow of communication between organizations and community members can be the launchpad for the social and environmental change organizations talk about and try for every day. Together, we can make change – not just a semblance of idealism, but reality, as well.

How does your organization engage with college students and young adults? Share what you’ve learned in the comments!

Dylan Manderlink is a recent graduate of Emerson College in Boston, Mass., who with a self-designed major, Investigative Theatre for Social Change. She is now a Teach for America corps member, teaching high school in rural Arkansas. She is passionate about working in the nonprofit sector and providing educational opportunities for students to creatively inform themselves and others about social justice, community change and human rights.

Tags:community service, millennial volunteering, volunteer engagement, youth volunteering

About The Author

Shari Tishman

Shari led Online Marketing and Communications at VolunteerMatch from 2010-2015. After working with nonprofits for 9 years, she moved over to the corporate sector and is now leading Inbound Marketing for a tech company in San Francisco.

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