Keep growing: Why does it matter to volunteer?

Cecile Dick-Calmes
Seeds of Life: Impact Sierra LeonePhoto byAdama Kalokoh

Where I grew up, we ignore charities and don't donate our money to help an organization. It's simply not something we do.

When I immigrated to North America, I learned the importance of non-profit and realized how important these organizations can be in our lives. Several of them helped me with my immigration, others how to successfully find a job, and even to find friends! I became more indulgent with non-profits and the people who run them.

Only a few years ago, I finally started to volunteer actively. I was upset to see our street always full of plastics and other detritus and tired of listening to climate change deniers, so I decided to provide my skills to a non-profit.

"It's never too late to do as much as we can." - Pär HOLMGREN

I gave my time to many NGOs before finding the right fit. Also, I wanted to get experience as I needed to learn how to raise funding or help them effectively. Also, I tried to find a non-profit that gave me joy and fit my values best.

In the summer of 2017, I read about the usual rainfall in Sierra Leone and how hundreds got killed as mudslides near Freetown submerged houses and turned streets into churning rivers. (The Guardian). In the pictures, you could only see clay.

What to blame? "Climate change is behind this," the president of Colombia said when, in April 2017, he confirmed that hundreds of people had died in a landslide caused by unnaturally heavy rainstorms that had struck Colombia.

I kept looking.

In December 2021, I joined the board of directors of Impact Sierra Leone. It took me a while to understand their needs and how to contribute to their programs successfully.

Adama Kalohoh funded impact Sierra Leone to reduce poverty and empower women while advancing sustainability, entrepreneurship, and public health through empowerment initiatives.

Impact Sierra Leone is in concordance with what I care about the most: climate change, women, and health.

Our different programs support the most vulnerable areas in the country and those exposed to natural hazards and livelihoods.

One of the best reasons I love volunteering for them is the happiness of being able to make a difference in a person's life. The group is friendly, positive, and kind. We all try our best to support each other and learn along the way. Every small action makes a difference, giving me a good reason to keep going. I also interact with individuals I would not have met otherwise, and they help me in my growth and development.

Among all the benefits and the sense of purpose, an NGO's work can provide, I enjoy standing up for the cause I care and for the ecological perspective, I gain from work.

Most of us will feel much better when we decide to slow down and take some time to give back. It gives us a chance to live instead of always being on our way.

Volunteering for your cause helps you feel much better once you decide to live more locally and put sustainability FIRST.

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Cecile Dick-Calmes is a content marketing strategist and creative leader with experience in B2B and B2C digital marketing.

Chicago, IL

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