” Volunteering is one of the best things you can do to feel good and make a difference to someone else’s life.”
It may sound obvious, but when one of our veteran volunteers, Kathleen Trolan spoke about why she does the Blitz with Mellon Educate – it summarised exactly the power and purpose of volunteering.
However you chose to volunteer to give up your time, to help another or shape a campaign, you will begin to grow a real addiction for doing something for nothing.
So many people have spoken about how the Building Blitz is time away from their ‘normal’ work, business & every day life and that the gratification of joining a collective of other people, who simply want to create something great, create a change and sustain a sense of community, is compelling.
Amber Davies, one of our youngest volunteers at 17 this year and out on the blitz with her father – Andrew Davies, who is veteran volunteer, eloquently described what has stood out for her the most so far:
” Arriving at the airport, it was astounding to see the welcome from the children and how immaculate they were in their school uniforms, knowing after the shack visit, that they have nothing at home. It’s really sad, but it is amazing that we are here helping them to get opportunities to get out of the situation they experience.
Working on site, I’ve turned my hand to most things, including plastering and concreting – getting to know people has felt so inspiring and knowing that everyone is here to help do something good. We are all so motivated to get it done and because of this, it gets done quicker.”
The power of doing something for a cause provides a lot of reflection, for everyone. The motivation, described, the feeling of togetherness and support….. it makes one think about how when you remove the transaction of ‘being paid’ or having to produce results for a different kind of gain, just how much more people give. Every volunteer spoken to so far, talks about the feeling and the results of giving. Whether it be a first time volunteer, or indeed, one of our 10 year plus veteran volunteers, their willingness to take themselves out of their comfort zones and do, see and think extraordinary things, things which are heart-warming and heart-breaking, really solidify the notion that nothing carries the potential for change than acts of human kindness.
Alan O’ Rafferty – a volunteer in his 11th year with us on the Building Blitz, applauded the flexibility and ability of people to handle change. “At a moments notice, the schedule may change and people of all levels of experience may have to stop what they are doing and pick up tools elsewhere – however, the various parts of the build have seamlessly fitted together and the planning has provided a strong foundation for people to move from role to role on site. It’s incredible to see that it always goes right because there is a collective of people working for the benefit of others and not themselves. This kind of adaptability could go a long way in the real world!”
And so, when we look at why we do the Building Blitz, we not only focus on the end game – the education for a nation, the opportunity to move lives into a place of prosperity and opportunity, but the shared sense of pride. Pride from the community and pride from the volunteers who have entered that community to work and “see where that work is going .”
“Despite seeing children living in conditions so small, so bare, they are happy – which is the weirdest thing of all.” (Brian Howards). Perhaps when you see this through giving eyes – it is not a surprise that many volunteers consider how we may take things for granted and that these people are “relying upon themselves” (volunteer). They all carry pride and a strength of joy that is evident when they speak to us, take us into their homes, sing and dance for us – they give and they give unconditionally. This marries the core reason why people volunteer and this unison to give and give back provides a helping hand.
” Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” Franklin D. Roosevelt