It did not take much for Vidisha Jain, 21, a management studies graduate, to forgo a well-paying summer internship with a music channel and volunteer with a not-for-profit environment oraganisation.
“Environmental issues such as global warming and pollution are a cause for concern for everyone. Mumbaiites lack the aggression to make a difference,” said Jain who plans to make a career in the non-profit sector. “Internships are more about experience than money. The first-hand experience will help me form my own opinions and change my thinking patterns.”
Like Jain, you, too, can use the next two months of your summer break to spread cheer in the lives of others, teach letters of the alphabet to the underprivileged or clear the garbage collected on the street. A number of city-based, non-profit organisations are providing summer volunteering programmes for youngsters. “Volunteering can help youngsters become more responsible and sensitive. It gives them vital exposure to ground-level issues,” said Abodh Aras, chief executive officer, Welfare of Stray Dogs. “It will also help them pursue their passions.”
For students planning to pursue their studies abroad, volunteering can also give them an extra edge when it comes to admissions. “Volunteering puts to test several important skills such as communication, dedication and creativity,” said Anand Pendharkar, founder, Sprouts, a non-profit organisation that deals with environment-related initiatives. “People who are interested need to have the time and inclination to promote the cause, and be committed to the volunteering programme,” added Pendharkar. The organisation selects candidates for their summer volunteering programme on the basis of a statement of purpose submitted by candidates.
According to Radha Vedantam, project director, Society for Service to Voluntary Agencies, “Volunteering helps youngsters work without resources. It can teach them basic life skills. It gives them a new perspective and they become more aware about the lives of the disadvantaged section of the society.”