Written by Abisoye Morakinyo
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Gandhi Click To Tweet
Source: Flickr.com/University of Wolverhampton
In my first year of university I stumbled upon a student leadership program which I eventually got accepted into. I volunteered as a Career Assistant where I supported first and second year students in developing their resumes and facilitated job search workshops. It was one of the most terrifying things I ever did at the time, but it was one of the most rewarding experiences. I stepped out of my comfort zone, and I grew in knowledge and expanded my skill set.
The experience was incredibly valuable to me because it was through it that I became bolder and more confident. I made great strides in developing my communication skills, networking abilities, and a number of other skills that I’m using and improving on still. I discovered that I loved meeting and interacting with new people. When you volunteer, you give yourself the opportunity to learn new skills, develop existing skills, and also use your experience and skill set for the benefit of others. In essence, you are adding value to yourself and to those who benefit from the gift of your time and effort. Another great thing worth mentioning is that volunteering is fun! You get the opportunity to interact with a variety of people with different experiences and backgrounds, and most times you’re participating in enjoyable activities. Although service is an act of selflessness, it is also self rewarding and self-fulfilling.
One of the core values of BFAN is altruism. Many of the women in the group are involved in a number of initiatives such as DECA, are members on boards, and also act as mentors to those that are younger and less experienced.
Volunteering creates visibility such that others see you and your accomplishments and think that they can do it too. It helps build the community and encourages others, especially the youth. Whether you know it or not, your act of service influences others. Therefore, we must deliver quality service and add value in our area of service.
Everyone can and should volunteer. You can volunteer while you work so that others can benefit from your growth and experience. Volunteer at a tax clinic, be a tutor for business or accounting high-school courses. It doesn’t even have to be related to your career. If you’re an Accountant that loves cooking, volunteer for a breakfast program. If you love children, be a worker in the children’s ministry. We all have interests outside work, look into how you could turn that into a volunteering opportunity for yourself.
Our vision in BFAN is that every black female accountant is empowered to make a difference in the profession, workplace, and the community. We put this into practice by actively seeking out opportunities and participating in initiatives that challenge us to develop our skills while making valuable contributions in our areas of influence.
I’ve come to understand that volunteering is a great means to challenge ourselves, discover our strengths, and improve on our weaknesses. Giving of our time and resources, and adding value to the causes, organizations, and people we serve motivates us to be better and do better.