A few weeks ago, I was on a video assignment to interview 17-year-old Fort Bragg teenager Leah Ortiz, who won Military Teen of the Year twice. During her interview, she spoke about volunteering. When I spoke with her mother Carmen Ortiz, she shared that Leah has been volunteering for years. When I spoke with Leah’s mentors, they also described Leah’s volunteering efforts.
For me, it was phenomenal to know that a teenager understood the value of volunteering.
Leah’s volunteerism reminded me of myself a few years back when my Family and I were stationed at Fort Stewart, Georgia. We moved to an area we haven’t been before with no Family or friends nearby. My husband was deployed at the time. With my young son and my “deployment puppy” (you know, that puppy you rescue while your significant other is deployed? Yes, that puppy.), I was all by myself.
Shortly after moving there, I decided to volunteer at the public affairs office. After a few months, a couple of employment opportunities opened up in the office. I applied for all of them. Months went by before I received any news. I was in the middle of a parking lot when I answered the phone, “You’ve been selected ...” I smiled from ear to ear.
So, without further ado, here are my top five reasons why volunteering is worthwhile:
You can land a job. Your boss and fellow co-workers know your work ethic and reliability as a prospective team member. You may be that strong candidate who will be selected for the job.
You meet people. This is a great avenue to make connections and network. You may also meet people who later become invaluable friends.
Learn new skills. From editing papers and making it bleed with a red pen to learning customer service skills or cooking, the skillset volunteering can teach can be instrumental in developing life skills.
You can put it on a résumé. For those who don’t have much work history, like young adults, one’s history of volunteering is suitable to add. This information can help a potential employer see what skills you’re capable of.
It’s selfless. Volunteers give their personal time without financial gain in return.
The advantageous aspect of volunteering is that it’s not limited to a specific field. Fort Bragg offers volunteer opportunities from various areas. During the quarterly Iron Mike Award Ceremony, volunteers are recognized for their efforts at the Iron Mike Conference Center. If you’re interested in seeing what’s available, visit www.myarmyonesource.com.
As for Leah, during the video interview, I asked if she expected anything in return for her volunteer efforts. Her response was “No, that’s the beauty of it. I don’t expect anything. Volunteering is just one step closer to changing the world.”
P.S. And my “deployment puppy” — he’s now 8.