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Why volunteering is so important

Words by Abi Scaife

It’s Volunteers Week, which is probably one of our favourite times of the year at Smiley News! We’ve got a whole host of brilliant interviews, articles, and videos coming your way in celebration - and this one is just the beginning.

Sarrah Fatima has spent a large portion of her life volunteering for various organisations - and, since settling down in her career, still regularly makes time for volunteering and giving back.

“I have been volunteering since I was 16,” Sarrah tells Smiley News. “This first started because of a credit requirement for my school, but I enjoyed my time working there so much and found it so interesting to meet different people, who I otherwise may not have had an opportunity to interact with.”

After that, Sarrah volunteered for a variety of organisations including Cancer Research, Guide Dogs UK, and the Samaritans, before she settled with St Andrews Healthcare.

Sarrah first volunteered as a Volunteer Assistant Psychologist. Her work helped her find employment, and she continues to donate her time to St Andrews even now.

“I was finishing my BSc in Psychology and was looking for a way to gain experience in the field,” explains Sarrah. “Psychology can be very competitive and this was a great way to enter the field and have a guided introduction to the different professions in MDT and understand how wards work.”

How can you have an impact as a volunteer?

For Sarrah, volunteering is an incredibly valuable way to learn more about her line of work, and to get a broader outlook on life.

“It’s a great way to learn more about how to interact with patients and understand how staff work together to provide efficient and effective care,” she says. “It was invaluable in allowing me the opportunity to network with staff working in job roles I aspired to be in, so gave me a great chance to pick their brain and seek advice I otherwise would not have had access to.”

What is the impact of volunteerism?

Studies have shown that, not only is volunteering useful for the charities you’re helping, it also has an amazing effect on the volunteers! It helps to decrease stress levels, as well as alleviating depression and anxiety. The act of giving back and seeing the positive effects of your actions is great for boosting your self esteem.

Plus, if you’re volunteering in a sector related to your career, it can give so many more benefits. When it comes to volunteering, the best thing to do really is to jump right in, see what you can make of it and experience what an incredible impact you can have on the world.

“You have absolutely nothing to lose [by volunteering] and everything to gain,” says Sarrah. “Not only are you able to learn how to interact with different population groups but also get exposure to different working environments, roles and procedures. This networking opportunity is invaluable.”

Charity check-in 

At Smiley Movement, we like to elevate the work of charities across the world. Here are three charities whose causes align with the themes in this article.

The Brain Charity. The Brain Charity provides free support for carers, friends and family of people with any form of neurological condition, including ADHD. Support them here.

Ripple Suicide Prevention. R;pple exists to ensure immediate mental health support is presented to individuals following a harmful online search. Learn more here.

Campaign to End Loneliness. This charity campaigns to make sure that people most at risk of loneliness are reached and supported. Support them here.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Partnership for the Goals.

This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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