The first in a series of articles by Code Your Future volunteers, as they explore their volunteering journeys. Along with our students, volunteers are the lifeblood of our organisation. Liliana, who started with us seven months ago, asks…
Why do we volunteer?
There’s always a temptation to give a one-size-fits-all answer to that kind of question. You can Google it to see tons of articles and find people offering advice related to the volunteering enterprise.
I’ve asked myself this question before, and I still don’t have a clear response. I have a hint: I’ve been born a humanitarian, who, for different facets of destiny and/or everyday challenges haven’t been able to fulfil my “natural-born aspirations” so far. Therefore, volunteering has come up as a powerful tool and space which allows me to express my true self (not that my other selves aren’t real; they’re just more constrained).
Commonly, volunteer work associates with the premise of “doing good”. But what is good? Also, on “giving back”. What are you actually giving back, something you have stolen perhaps? Have you asked yourself those questions before? The truth is each one of us has a different answer and reasons to volunteer.
I experienced occasional volunteer activities in the past, but last year I decided to do it in a consistent, frequent basis. In this respect, I carefully chose organisations whose purpose and results are related to themes that are close to my heart: displaced communities and entrepreneurship.
Code your Future is one of them. For me, the chosen organisations needed to deliver practical results, and they do! It’s hard to engage with activities that don’t track progress and impact.
On top of that, CYF is a warm and vibrant community where volunteers, staff and students smoothly merge as one big family. After a while, I am still impressed by the force of our volunteer cohort — it moves the organisation forward; it expands it beyond its limits. Our group of volunteers is a vital piece of a civil society’s machine, which is bringing solutions to some of humanity’s biggest challenges.
I wish we could celebrate more the act of volunteering! Personally, it has been a transformative journey as a human being. The volunteer experience has made me more confident about my personality and abilities, especially because it is a supportive and non-judgemental space, where you’re free to experiment. But, the best benefits are intangible: having the chance to meet people who bring to your life real stories about their migration journeys — that otherwise you would only read from a newspaper and see on TV. Now, I’m more open to listen and learn.
And, maybe, more important than asking “why do you volunteer” is asking “what does it mean to you?”.
If you’re interested in volunteering with Code Your Future, visit our website to find out more and apply. Liliana can be found on Twitter.