Tips for volunteering/helping others

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Emil Jensen, modified 5 Months ago.

Tips for volunteering/helping others

Posts: 263 Join Date: 7/16/20 Recent Posts
Hey all,

I have for way too long craved some sort of volunteering which fit me. I don't have any spare money, so simply donating to beneficial causes isn't something I'm gonna do right now.

I guess some others in here may have this craving for contributing to someone, and likely there's some of you with experience as well.

I kinda dream of being able to be there for people who are lonely and otherwise lost. I guess because I know how aweful that feels, have good insight into it, and think I have a flair for being good in this area... I don't know if it's naive, but there must be a way to become a good helper of this sort of problem.

I would be happy to hear about any positive experiences or neat ways to volunteer. For now I'll browse through volunteering jobs that I can find online, for Copenhagen and see if I find something.

/Emil
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Ben V., modified 5 Months ago.

RE: Tips for volunteering/helping others

Posts: 351 Join Date: 3/3/15 Recent Posts
I used to do Meals on Wheels a long time ago. I don't know about your area but it's volunteers organizations that deliver meals to low income elderlies. They are often isolated and part of the volunteer work was also socializing a bit with hem when we delivered the meals.

We also have volunteer organizations doing ''Hello how are you'' services to isolated elderly, where we call them in the morning and chat 10-15 min to see how they are doing.
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 5 Months ago.

RE: Tips for volunteering/helping others

Posts: 1741 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
I sponsor a child monthly but it would be also good to help people and animals in need, face to face so to speak. In Denmark there are 200.000 lonely people (registered) and there also the homeless. Spending Xmas with them could be good but this COVID thing is to be respected. 

You can also be of service here on DhO emoticon
By logging about your practice you inspire others to do the same emoticon 
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Olivier, modified 5 Months ago.

RE: Tips for volunteering/helping others

Posts: 731 Join Date: 4/27/19 Recent Posts
I used to volunteer at a soup kitchen (Camions du coeur) for a while ; currently donate a bit every month for organizations like CARE who do stuff in africa... And I've tried directly helping some people who were going through real problems in their lives, offering to let them stay at my place and such.

So, it's not much, but all this has led me to deeply question the notion of "helping".

I'm not sure I actually helped anyone there, tbh. There's the classic parable from Jesus : Better to teach a man how to fish than to give him a fish. 

And then, there's this mahamudra line : "As long as you're not highly realized, refrain from the superficial act of "dharma teaching"."

So, maybe the best thing to do to help others is to get enlightened :p

I truly don't know. There are many forms of help. While Dostoievski was writing "the karamazov brothers", he wasn't directly providing food, shelter, safety, healthcare to anyone. And yet, how many people have been helped by his work ? What about Rilke, who was provided for by aristocratic protectors who liked his poetry, and didn't do much beyond his poetic work.  Was he helpful ? 

Yes, he helps me right now when I read his Elegies. 

It's a subtle business...
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Noah D, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Tips for volunteering/helping others

Posts: 1143 Join Date: 9/1/16 Recent Posts
I would approach this from the effective altruist decision making framework - 

http://globalprioritiesproject.org/2015/09/flowhart/

EA tends to focus a lot on philanthropy but one can use this mental model for selecting where & how to give time, energy & skills.

I also think it's good to focus on volunteering that might not be as objectively effective but is more about causes that are personally relevant or those that help you connect with local community, etc.  Complementary approaches ultimately - effective giving & personal giving.
Tim Farrington, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Tips for volunteering/helping others

Posts: 2460 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
hey emil, volunteering for hospice work can be intense but often feels very fruitful. As a volunteer, you don't need special medical skills (though you often acquire some basics along the way, and such skills are always to the good), you're most likely just showing up once a week or so to give the primary caregiver some time off. So really it's just having the capacity to be hang out with someone gently and responsively and appropriately. The other hospice workers you'll cross path with are usually very cool, big-hearted, committed folks. The families will break your heart, generally in good ways. And the dying themselves are, surprisingly, often the easiest of all, and the most . . . fun? Fun, yes. They're usually beyond denial, being in hospice, and the range of attitudes I encountered titlted strongly toward no bullshit and freedom and curiousity. And there is something also to being there at crunch moments, if you can stand the heat, that is very very beautiful to share with someone, and hospice work brings those moments up in time, almost inevitably. I did it for some years, but in the long run burned out; there is a tendency to start feeling like family, and you really have to find a way to play it very clean to not succumb to cumulative grief. But there are examples of real compassion pros to learn from, who do play it clean, and keep their hearts in play. And there are worse things than loving a person who dies, and being a little fucked up for a while as a result.
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Emil Jensen, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Tips for volunteering/helping others

Posts: 263 Join Date: 7/16/20 Recent Posts
I really like this suggestion! I totally vibe with your wording of it as "fun". I think it would be extremely interesting emoticon

Will have to check out what possibilities there are...
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Olivier, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Tips for volunteering/helping others

Posts: 731 Join Date: 4/27/19 Recent Posts
Sounds inspiring 
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Chris Marti, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Tips for volunteering/helping others

Posts: 3877 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
But there are examples of real compassion pros to learn from, who do play it clean, and keep their hearts in play. And there are worse things than loving a person who dies, and being a little fucked up for a while as a result.

Second to Tim's recommendation in regard to volunteering in hospice. It is rewarding and surprisingly enjoyable. Witnessing what happens in those places is eye-opening and life-changing.

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