OPINION | Volunteerism challenge: Fulfillment and Sense of Pride

by Prof. Julio O. Castillo, Jr.

VOLUNTEERS are the heart of non-profit community organizations. These organizations depend solely on the willingness of its members to fulfill their commitment to help their community. Extending help mostly in challenging times like this pandemic.

Every Individual has this innate desire to help other people. Most venues to fulfilling these desires are to do volunteer works. This volunteerism aspiration can be found in a community, non-profit organization, or simply peer induced group that is willing to extend a helping hand.  

With busy lives, it can be hard to find time to volunteer. However, the benefits of volunteering can be enormous and significant. Volunteering offers vital help to people in need, providing worthwhile causes to the people of the community who are in dire need but the benefits can be even greater for the volunteer. The right match can help you find friends, connect with the community, learn new skills, and even advance your career. 

Giving to others can also help your individual growth and protect your mental and physical health. It can lessen stress, fight depression, keep you mentally motivated, and provide a sense of purpose. While it’s true that the more you volunteer, the more benefits in terms of self-fulfillment you’ll experience, volunteering doesn’t have to absorb a long-term commitment or take a huge amount of time out of your demanding day. The act of giving in whatever ways and terms can help those in need and improve your outlook in life that can result in the feeling of fulfillment and happiness. 

In this challenging time, people are just lucky to get involved in helping the community. Take the case of the GTC Community Servant Organization, Inc. (GTCCSOI) of General Trias City in Cavite. These are the group of men and women, bonded together with a common purpose, and most have the hearts of gold. They volunteer unconditionally to help the people of their community in Pasong Kawayan II by providing aid to the front-liners during the height of the pandemic and extended their help to the unemployed family members of the community, who lost their jobs because of the pandemic up to this moment. The communities, just like any others, were greatly affected by the current events. The group serves as a multiplier to the LGU of the city, whose hands are full and busy working out things to contain these COVID-19 challenges. While the group is volunteering on limited resources, they focus mainly on what they can extend.
We can just imagine the number of affected families on the current pandemic. Back in 2015, the population was posted at 314, 300, and statistically projected to increase by 5.25% per year and peg to arrive at 405,990 by 2020. GTCCSOI, extending their help is a welcome respite to the burden of the local government of the city.

I witnessed how these hardworking dedicated men and women work days and nights just to help the needy and provide shelters and inspirations to those who were affected. Pulling their limited resources, they cooked meals, packed rice, and canned goods, went house to house to make sure that everyone on the lists gets the help that they need.  It is not enough to cater to everyone but the efforts to somehow unburden the plight of the few will be a good start for the organization’s objective to extend help for their community.

Together they pulled their individual resources to augment their limited funds in the organization. There were good Samaritans that provided aide in the persons of Councilor Mario Amante and Atty. Jesse Remulla Grepo, among others. On top of their individual efforts to help people and advocacies, these persons volunteered to donate because they believe in the cause of the GTCCSOI.

The noble action provided by these volunteers is something to emulate by everyone. Voluntarily helping others is good for one’s mind and body; it gives meaning and fulfillment to your life; it connects you to others and understands their predicament. Volunteering allows you to contribute positive vibes that have a great impact on the community, thus making it a better place to live. As a volunteer, your contribution will make a real difference in the lives of other people.

As a resident and Caviteño for four years now, I got lucky to bump into GTCSOI … volunteering, making friends, and understanding better my community.  One of the best ways to make new friends and strengthen existing relationships is to commit to a shared activity together. Volunteering is a great way to meet new people and an opportunity to exchange ideas, especially if you are new to an area. It strengthens your ties and bonds related to the community. It also broadens your support to the association and network, exposing you to diverse people with common concerns and interests, sharing neighborhood resources, and enjoying fun-loving and fulfilling activities. Volunteerism also increases your social and relationship skills.

In joining an organization as a volunteer, one will discover a lot of interesting phenomena like while some people are naturally outgoing, others are shy or timid and have a hard time adjusting to meeting new people. Volunteering gives you the opportunity to practice and develop your social skills since you are meeting regularly with a group of people with common goals and interests. Once you have the momentum, it’s easier to branch out, develop a relationship, and make more friends, contacts, and networks. 

Once it is embedded in our character, it will not be hard for us to influence and persuade other family members to volunteer.
Children are keen on observing and watch everything we do. By giving back to the community, you’ll show them firsthand how volunteering makes a difference and how good it feels good and fulfilling to help other people and making an impact on their lives. By doing well in volunteering, you are affecting not only the community but you will experience a natural sense of accomplishment that gives you a sense of pride and identity. The better you feel about yourself, the more likely you are to have a positive view of your life and future goals. 

Prof. Julio O. Castillo, Jr. is a Doctor in Business Administration, and academician of business management and entrepreneurship, university professor for graduate and undergraduate schools, academic research author, civil servant and advocate of good governance and transparency, environmentalist, and community servant.