Volunteering - a leisure activity?

October 10, 2013  |  By Margot Conti, France

Volunteering - a leisure activity?

Photo : Andrea Booher/Wikimedia Commons

For a lot of people volunteering is an important and much appreciated task where individuals often selflessly dedicate their time to support disadvantaged organisations.  However, many are not aware of the positive impact a volunteer can make, for example, to a worthy organisation and they consider volunteering as nothing more than a leisure activity.

‘In my opinion leisure refers to entertainment, so I do not think volunteering and leisure can be linked. Although, by realising the benefits of our actions, we can enjoy helping other people,’ expresses Simon Macias, a volunteer for the Secours Populaire organisation in France. He went on to say that, ‘being a volunteer is primarily a commitment and a struggle with a serious problem that our society is unable to resolve. Volunteering should not be considered as a hobby, because it is non-profit and it requires managing several jobs at the same time such as accounting and logistics.’

With that in mind, some claim that if a volunteer were to be paid it will eliminate the views of it being a ‘leisure activity’. However, straight away we realise that if that were the case we might as well take away their volunteer status. The other issue is that most organisations requiring volunteers are those that battle financially. Therefore, it makes no sense to pay a volunteer.

It is without a doubt a shame that many people don’t see the importance of volunteering for worthy causes. And it’s definitely a pity when people forget that nothing is more wonderful and beautiful than a human gesture, a free and selfless act to help others in need.  

‘I give them material goods and in exchange they give me real life lessons. Their words must be a moral lesson for all those who listen to them, because they transmit their wealth to the richest of our world,’ says a volunteer from the St Vincent de Paul Society.


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