How it all started for me
Earlier this year, Jesse Nkwiri reached out to me about the Thinking Cap Literacy Initiative (TCLI) and asked if I could volunteer, stressing that my writing skills would be of value; without thinking twice, I told him I am all in. Eight months down the line, I am still glad I decided to be here.
The redefining night for us
This piece is not to share about how I got in but about a night that all of us at TCLI will not forget in a rush.
The day was August 31st, it was a calm Tuesday evening and the occasion was a zoom meeting chaired by Jesse with Ambassador Odinaka Kingsley Obeta as our speaker for the night. All of us had our reasons for volunteering before then, but after he shared with us about the “why of volunteerism”, I can say with utmost certainty that we see everything in a different light – it was such an illuminating moment.
No, it wasn’t because he was even a Medical Laboratory Scientist, but It started for Odinaka a few years back when he was knocked down by Malaria (one can’t but wonder how such miniature creatures can bring down a giant man???), after recovery, he saw the need to start door to door awareness about the need to prevent against malaria in Tudun Wada, Jos North, Plateau State, Nigeria. In what might have been a response to the ordeal he had experienced, it grew to a passion, to a need to volunteer and reach out to many so that no one can experience what he went through. Today, from such a humble and purposeful beginning, Odinaka is an international ambassador and volunteer that is working hard in an attempt to make the world a better place.
The core of volunteerism
If you are to volunteer with any organization of your choice today, why would you do that? Some volunteer because they see their friends doing so, others do so to go through the motions and past time, while others have many reasons for volunteering. Whatever might be the reason, permit me to say it has to benefit humanity.
Cutting to the chest, meaningful volunteerism starts with the definition of why, one’s failure to clearly define why he/she volunteers makes it an effort in futility. This further aligns with the popular axiom that says where the purpose of a thing is not defined, abuse is inevitable. At the end of the session, for us at TCLI, we were all set on course to henceforth volunteer in whatever capacity we can with a deeper sense of purpose and responsibility.
Why we volunteer
After such a practical session with Ambassador Odinaka Kingsley Obeta, we at TCLI can now say with utmost certitude that among many others, these are some of the reasons why we volunteer.
- We volunteer to establish the right network, build needful associations and develop a solution-oriented mindset.
- Skills that are not put to use lose relevance with time, hence we volunteer to hone our skill sets.
- In life, we rise by the recommendation of others higher in influence than us, and who recommends you matters as well. Thus, while volunteering and establishing all the right networks, we build a track record that will enable other people to invest their credibility in us and vouch for us. Therefore, where such people of higher and global influence find us and what they find us doing will determine whether they can risk their credibility for us – volunteerism is our launchpad.
- Never undermine the power of capacity building and experience. Volunteerism gives us the platform to build capacity and gather experience that would have cost us a fortune.
- The quality of your volunteering network determines the quality of information and opportunities that will be available to you. At TLCI we volunteer to gain access to information and opportunities that will make us relevant and needful in our time.
- We volunteer to give back to the society
- We volunteer to make the world a better place through selfless services.
- We volunteer to become part of something bigger than us – humanity.
- When you volunteer, you have the opportunity to see the world through traveling and that is a school of its own.
To wrap this up
At TCLI we are purposeful and solution-driven. We know that nobody blows by accident as such a person has to rise to the ladder of influence through little, seemingly insignificant selfless community services. Yes, we have different yet equally important career paths, but we are out to strategically align our volunteer experience with our career paths as well – either way, we win.
If you are reading this piece now, do not ever say you have nothing to offer, this is because at the heart of volunteerism is selfless service. Therefore, if we all can selflessly serve our communities, with our time, resources, skills, and talents, this world will be a better place.
Guteng Walnshak Solomon