I have two volunteering jobs, one is working with children and the other is working with art, my two favorite things! Today I worked at the Pearson Centre for Young People in Beeston which is a suburb just outside of Nottingham. It is usually an after school program for kids in the area, but as they are on mid-holiday, the Centre offers full day activities.
Today was my first day and I was definitely thrown into it. I have had a lot of experience working with children so it was really nice to jump in here. We played games, did some artwork, and even took a trip to the Cinema to see a film. Although the kids definitely wore me out and I know I will be sleeping well tonight, it was the best feeling to be lively and energetic with these kids.
They loved me of course because I was the new lady with a strange voice. The kids were great about it and had a zillion questions to ask as well as tell me everyone they knew in the United States. I could talk for days about all of these wonderful children who accepted me into their lives at the Pearson Centre without hesitation. They laughed and joked around about my funny voice but that really didn’t matter to them when thinking about me as a person. I truly wish this was how all people thought!
I'm not saying that you should devote every second of your free time to volunteering; that's neither possible nor fair. You also don’t HAVE to work with kids, but if you have the opportunity... Do it, especially if you are in a different country! If not out of the goodness of your heart, do it for yourself because, if you are in the right place, you will leave feeling better than when you arrived without a doubt!