Day 25 of 30 Days Countdown to South America and Around the World
When our daughter Bethany turned 13, we sent her on a trip with our church to Nicaragua to work with the children for a week. That was her first overseas trip without her parents. Volunteering with a group of teens and adults has taught her to stretch her limits, try new foods with the locals and expose her to a lifestyle beyond her comfort zone.
Volunteering is an important part of our life. It transcends all cultures and lets us into the life of a people group or environment. It shows us who we are and what we can do to make this world a better place. Most volunteer work in South America, Asia or Africa are arranged by companies who specialize in matching you to the right type of volunteer work and to the country you want to visit. However, it does cost money to get the volunteering work and trip.
Part of our travel includes volunteering. These volunteer projects will be arranged privately with organizations and hospitals. We will share with you when we get there.
Here's an article written by Bethany about two and a half years ago:
Volunteering: Is it Necessary for Teens?
By Bethany Looi
Think carefully about this: When you look at a family picture, with you in it, who is the first person you look for? Or maybe in your high school year book, who is it you’re always searching for? YOURSELF!
Today, we live in a pretty individualistic society, where the priority is ourselves. We may not realize it, but most of the time, our thoughts are “Why aren’t they talking to me?”, “What’s in it for me?”, “Why is everyone looking at me?” Me me me and I I I…. you get the point.
Maybe we should try a different road and stop thinking about ourselves instead, with questions such as “What kind of help do they need?”, “Who needs a helping hand?” With these questions in mind…
Why we should volunteer!
1. You reap what you sow:
Most of us have heard this saying before. And it is true! For example, if you plant oranges, you will get oranges. Likewise, if you plant carrots, you will get carrots. This concept can be applied to volunteering. Let’s say you go out of your way and take the time out of your busy schedule to help someone else. When a time comes and you need help, someone will also willingly go out of their way to help you out.
An example could be during the holiday season, many people go out of their way to volunteer at places like Metropolitan Ministries. This is an organization that helps homeless families in the Tampa Bay region. Even though they could be shopping for Christmas gifts for friends and families, they still volunteer.
2. Self esteem increases:
Achieving a high self esteem is difficult for many. This is one of the major issues I feel teens deal with everyday. As a teen, I believe we, as the uncommon generation, needs to get over ourselves and focus on reaching out to the needs of others. Surprisingly, when you help someone out, you feel good about it. When you feel good about something you’ve done, your self esteem increases.
3. Teaches values:
Values include things such as patience, kindness, and self control. When you volunteer, you learn these values. For example, one thing I need to work on is my patience. Volunteering is a great way to do this. Just this past month, I volunteered at my church for our Vacation Bible School, with the crafts. I learned that you have to be patient with younger children. They won’t understand how to do something, like braiding, the minute you teach them. Therefore, I had to calmly explain how to do the certain craft a few times before they fully understood it.
We are in the second month of summer vacation, the perfect time for teens to get out and volunteer! I hope this article inspires you to do so!
Please let me know if you think volunteering is necessary for teens by leaving a comment below.