For me volunteering is applying my talents and abilities to a good cause that can help others. There are many ways to volunteer for the betterment of others: some volunteers in shelters, orphanages, nursing homes; some brave ones go on long-term and short-term service to remote places to educate people in rural areas or assist them with medical care.
We volunteer to share our knowledge of English with people. Everything started with my in-laws. They set up the first English corner in their house, attracting young (and not so young) adults who were willing to practice and improve their oral English skills. Mom and dad found themselves cooperating with local Outdoor Activities Group that also does a lot of volunteering: cleaning parks and mountain sites, raising money for good causes. They held English corner in their living room twice a week, gathering around 30 people each time! Friends would sit on sofas, chairs and even the floor.
When they left, our little family took over this activity. Our daughter was less than 1 year old at that time. She was at first the only child who took part in this activity. When we moved to a bigger apartment and had more friends join us, some of them started bringing their children so they would play together while the parents participated in the activity.
We always tried to promote creativity and imaginative thinking during our corners. We made things together, drew maps and murals, made stories and used creative approach to tasks. We also gathered for picnics and made dumplings together.
Once a lady approached me. She didn’t speak any English and had someone help her translate. She offered me to conduct English corner at the Charity Federation where she worked and the participants would be children from low-middle class families and from families with one parent. After giving it some consideration, I took upon this task. I went there every week together with our oldest daughter and facilitated the activity. I also officially registered to be a volunteer for the city of Zhuhai.
I had to stop volunteering for this activity as I got pregnant with our second daughter and the children and the charity federation threw a big party for us. It was so touching – children played instruments, we played games. It was amazing.
We still keep in touch and get together from time to time.
So how is my volunteering related to creativity? Well, for starters I always encouraged children to use their imagination. I gave them tasks that required them not just answer questions but to think and come up with creative answers. I taught them songs about love, peace and compassion. I asked them to write short essays and read in class. Our daughter loved being around children and until now she asks me if we are going to resume this activity.
I hope I can soon restart working with these children and do some more. And I plan to involve both of our children in this. I strongly feel that letting them be a part of this from early age will help them become better people.
Do you volunteer? If yes, share your stories with me!