I’ve always felt that having a hearing loss, has helped me to become a better person.
For as long as I can remember, my family has always been involved in voluntary work. Whether it involved fundraising for good causes or trying to help others. From baking cakes, to organising fairs and from packing Christmas shoeboxes to helping out on the school committee, my mum was always busy volunteering for one cause or another.
Our home was always full of boxes brimming with goodies, my mum baking on an industrial scale, or prizes being sourced for the next big fundraiser and as soon as I was able, I was drafted in to help on a stall or to design an eye-catching poster.
I’m not sure if it was because of my upbringing, my disability, a simple desire to help others less fortunate or the wish to give something back, I have found myself following in her footsteps, trying to do my little bit.
The value of giving
I have been lucky enough to be able to support so many worthwhile charities, helping to raise much needed funds for a variety of important organisations as well as helping to increase awareness for valuable causes and helping others. There are so many deserving charities, there is never enough time, but I feel I can help in some small way a few of the causes which are close to my heart.
As some of my readers know, I have recently completed a Skydive for a local Deaf charity.
Of course the main aims are always to raise awareness and funds for the charity, but the opportunity to do a Skydive was something I’ve always wanted to do and I felt a huge personal benefit from doing it.
I always believe that by helping others, we can help ourselves. Many people often take on a voluntary role as a result of being on the receiving end of a service and wanting to give back in some way, or by identifying the benefits of the cause and wanting to help to further that cause.
I have been extremely fortunate with the wonderful support that I’ve received from many inspiring individuals throughout my childhood because of my disability. Now I’m an adult, I feel privileged that I can help to do the same for others. It’s one of the reasons why I started writing blogs about my life as a deaf person, in the hope that I could reach out to someone else and to inspire them that they can achieve anything.
Benefits for all
Of course the primary motivation for volunteering is often to do something positive for the cause, whether it is giving your time, expertise, skills, money, inspiration, support or experience.
I have discovered there have been many personal benefits along the way. It might be the warm feeling of doing something useful for others, or it could be gaining work experience by helping out in a charity shop. To me, volunteering is a two way process with benefits for both parties.
When undertaking meaningful voluntary work, it can have an almost therapeutic effect on a volunteer’s wellbeing, with the knowledge that they are doing something creative, productive or positive for another person or animal.
For young people especially, it can show potential employers a candidate’s level of commitment, passion, discipline and determination completing tasks and could potentially help to secure them a career.
The world is your oyster!
The opportunities have never been greater. With such a wide range of charities and good causes nowadays, there is something for everyone, regardless of age or experience.
How you can help others…
- Look around your local community
No matter how big or small the job, there’s always ways you can help out in your local community. It could be; walking someone’s dog, visiting a care home to holding a cake sale. Every little help makes a lot of difference.
- Your hearing loss or disability can help you to help others
Sometimes having a disability makes you more understanding and considerate. There might be others near you who are struggling to come to terms with their hearing loss or disability and if you can share your experiences of how you overcome those barriers, it might help them see theirs in a more positive light. Also, having a hearing loss or disability in common is a great conversation starter.
- Volunteering websites
There are websites which match people’s skills, interests and passions to the most suitable organisations. Whatever your skills or knowledge may include, from experience with animals, disabled children, elderly people, veterans or victims of crime, there are so many ways anyone can help.
- Work experience in a charity shop or with a charity
If you get in touch with your local charity shop, or a charity that you’d like to help out with, and explain that you would be willing to get involved in some voluntary work. Then, see what they come back with.