Volunteering gets a bad wrap when you are from an Asian immigrant family. When you volunteer, especially when you still live at home during your high school years (or during college summers), you will most likely get asked, “Why are you volunteering for [insert X organization] when you could be [insert some mundane household chore] at home for your parents?” They cannot understand for a second why on earth you would do unpaid labor for anyone outside of your family.
Volunteering is one of those things that helps everyone, though. It will usually help other people, whether it’s a child in need, a homeless person, someone with a lesser skill set than you, or just a lazy office worker who can dump some of their load on unpaid you. However, it also can help you, too, because it makes you feel like a) you are doing something with your life, and b) you are doing a good deed, which selfishly (ironically) usually feels pretty good. “It makes me feel good” is even a check box on the list of questions I looked at that asked, “Why are you volunteering?”
I thought about volunteering last year, particularly with either mentoring children or helping less fortunate adults, but with Ed dramatically leaving me (thanks, Ed), I figured 2013 wasn’t the best year to start it. 2014 is a new year, though, and this year, I actually do want to do something for others. I attended a Wellesley alum-hosted volunteer event tonight that gave me some ideas. Let’s see what I find.