Prevention campaigns - Carlos

What is volunteering for me?

Well, i don’t get paid, but i get the chance to use my talents, develop new skills, and experience the pleasure that comes from making a real difference to other people’s lives, as well as my own. We can say: volunteering is about giving your time to a good cause.

When you see with your own eyes that the people by your side are having fun and in the same time that they are learning something useful by the hand of some unknown foreigner, that alone, deserve to be called “good cause”.

The last activity that i did consisted in going to high school to explain to the teenagers, our target social group, the dangers of alcohol consume. From my point of view and my own experience, is not always easy to aware people about this kind of legal and social-accepted drugs. Is not the same with other substances that are straightly forbidden, because these first ones are part of the society behavior and culture. How can you go to young people that find themselves in that age, in which the “normal” is yet not defined, and the most important aspect of their personality development is to make social connections, to try new things, and to test limits? Even I, when I was a teenager, I forced those limits, because of two reasons: at first, cause I am a curious person and anybody gave me all the information’s, with all the good and bad aspects, so that I can make an informed decision.  I only got the typical dogma words “Don’t do it. It’s bad”. That’s never enough… And secondly, we have to admit it: when you are a teenager, the most important is to create connections and develop your social skills, in order to begin to be an adult. And unfortunately, alcohol is a very “good” help for this work… Let’s say is seen as cool, and in some aspects, help people be more outgoing, so that they make connections with others easier.

And I think everybody can understand this; the problem is when you have to talk about the other face of alcohol. Actually, we live in a society that makes distinctions in terms of “good” or “bad”, black or white, zeros and ones. We live in a binary system society. So is never easy to explain to a young person that something can be good and bad at the same time. Even for adults, the normal way of thinking is through this scheme. So, what did I do?

I present the history of alcohol, in the most objective way I could present it, without talking about in “binary” terms. Sometimes, it even looked like if I am supporting reasons of alcohol consume by historical reasons, and that’s a good point, just because the teenagers were not expecting it: they expect me to tell “don’t do this, is bad.” So, starting after this disoriented point of beginning is easier to get into the conscious of the audience. Sometimes, as an inverse psychology point tells, you can hear some “this is not possible, alcohol is bad” from the same people that may be potential drinkers if you start with telling them just to don’t do something. The simple start of saying that something is forbidden, can make that something more attractive that it should be.

After the history of alcohol is presented with interesting facts and anecdotes, with the attention already cached and with the minds already opened, we can begin to talk about the physical damage that alcohol can create. And then, they really got the point! Is this moment, when I realize what is volunteering for me. It means to give some useful information to someone, and to trust his or hers ability to make their own decision, now knowing all the aspects of the problem. When they are given the trust that they will make the best decision for them, that feeling, for a teenager, is the most empowering feeling. And for me, the empowerment comes from knowing I gave my time to help the next generation.

And this is enough for me.

One thought on “What is volunteering for me?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *