Volunteering in America versus China...

| 17 Comments

This posting was submitted by Liqiong:

Hi everyone, Liqiong here.

This is my first time in the US and I've now been in Minnesota for four months. I've been enjoying everything here sooooo far.

There is a question that I would like to ask all of you guys. After I came here, I found volunteering in the US to be very common and popular, not only among students but also some adults.

What a different situation compared with China! We don't do much volunteer work, everyone doesn't have the awareness to volunteer. I also heard from you guys that you started to do volunteer work since you were very young.

I would like to ask why people think volunteering is so popular in the US. Or what sort of things did you consider whenever you decide to do volunteer work?

17 Comments

Rose here. I can't speak for everyone else about their motivation for volunteering but I will for myself. The environment in which I grew up contained prominent figures who frequently participated in volunteer efforts. Being surrounded by this mentality has transferred that same spirit to me. It seems very natural for me to see people giving of their time to help others. I think that is how the world is suppose to operate. The reason people flock to communities and organizations is because no one is entirely self sufficient. We are socials being and taking in part group efforts is one means to fulfilling our basic needs as humans. Basically in my eyes, people volunteer because it is natural to do so.

Personally, I was encouraged by my parents to always be involved in some sort of community work. When I was pretty young, my mom would take my sister and I along to do "Meals on Wheels" (a program that delivers meals to the elderly), as well as had us volunteer the local humane society and co-op. I also grew up in a college town, which had a lot of students volunteering in the community - constantly seeing that probably gave me the idea as a child that this was simply something people did.

Personally, I was encouraged by my parents to always be involved in some sort of community work. When I was pretty young, my mom would take my sister and I along to do "Meals on Wheels" (a program that delivers meals to the elderly), as well as had us volunteer the local humane society and co-op. I also grew up in a college town, which had a lot of students volunteering in the community - constantly seeing that probably gave me the idea as a child that this was simply something people did.

Personally, I was encouraged by my parents to always be involved in some sort of community work. When I was pretty young, my mom would take my sister and I along to do "Meals on Wheels" (a program that delivers meals to the elderly), as well as had us volunteer the local humane society and co-op. I also grew up in a college town, which had a lot of students volunteering in the community - constantly seeing that probably gave me the idea as a child that this was simply something people did.

For me it started when I was a freshman in High School. I was in honors social studies and english and it was a combined class and one of the requirements for being in honors was to do a certain amount of volunteer hours. So for my first year of High School, that is what I did it for. For my sophomore year I can't exactly remember why I volunteered, but I know that I did some, but not as much. I know that it was offered as extra credit in a lot of the classes that I was taking. For my junior and senior year of High School I was in National Honor Society so for that I had to volunteer as well. I kept volunteering because I felt that I needed something to put on my college transcript that showed that I did more than just go to school. I think that I have learned so much from volunteering and it feels good to be able to give back to the community as well. I also think that it teaches responsibility especially when students are asked or forced to do it by their teachers at a younger age.

Hi,
I also starting volunteering when I was little, doing Meals on Wheels with my mom. Growing up in my church community is mostly what has given me the desire to volunteer. Learning from older kids and adults in my church about the need to take care of each other really gave me a caring heart from a young age. I grew up in a church where everyone really valued each other and our community, nation, and world. In this environment, I was given opportunities throughout my entire childhood to volunteer in various settings for various purposes and people. Everything from raking the yards of the elderly, to picking up trash from the ditches, to assembling Christmas presents for children in foreign countries was important to us. So I think that for me, and my church family, it's not about "volunteering" really, it's just about how we can show that we care and how we can make a difference in someone's life for the better. I also volunteered in high school because of National Honor Society requirements, confirmation requirements, and for my college application.

Hi,
I also starting volunteering when I was little, doing Meals on Wheels with my mom. Growing up in my church community is mostly what has given me the desire to volunteer. Learning from older kids and adults in my church about the need to take care of each other really gave me a caring heart from a young age. I grew up in a church where everyone really valued each other and our community, nation, and world. In this environment, I was given opportunities throughout my entire childhood to volunteer in various settings for various purposes and people. Everything from raking the yards of the elderly, to picking up trash from the ditches, to assembling Christmas presents for children in foreign countries was important to us. So I think that for me, and my church family, it's not about "volunteering" really, it's just about how we can show that we care and how we can make a difference in someone's life for the better. I also volunteered in high school because of National Honor Society requirements, confirmation requirements, and for my college application. Stephanie Johnson

Hello,
For me volunteering has been apart of literally like my whole life. I was raised doing it. both my mom and my dad were big into volunteering. Although, I didn't necessarily understand why I was actually volunteering, but I think now it's really shown itself to be apart of me. Through most of my recent volunteering, I've learned so much about myself, not only in what I can do (like strengths) but also on a personal basis. I feel that it's brought me so much closer to understanding what I'm supposed to do with my life. Which through volunteering I've figured out to be teaching. As far as Why I think people in the U.S. volunteer, I would have to say because we understand what different people go through, and want to be able to make a difference. Maybe not everyone is in volunteering with their heart, of course they'll be some that are just doing it for a resume or what not, but I think that the volunteers that have been doing it all their lives really care about making a difference and helping someone less fortunate then themselves. That's really interesting about China though. I guess I never really thought about volunteering in other countries before, I just assumed everywhere was big into volunteering.

I forgot my name above.
Hannah Vukelich

I've always wondered what compels people to volunteer, and it's really interesting to get a perspective from outside the US. Personally, it took a while until I really enjoyed volunteer work. Around my freshman year in college, I started helping out at the humane society, and that completely changed how I felt about volunteering. I'm a huge supporter of animal rights, so working with animals was something that was extremely important to me. I guess what it comes down to is finding something you care about and doing whatever you can to help out. I think people like feeling that they're making a difference toward something they feel strongly about. That's my main motivation for volunteering, anyway.

~Chelsea

For me, volunteering began as a way to merely advance myself and be the "overachiever" in class. By helping teachers, I felt they would help me and I would gain some benefit by my own efforts. Little did I know, that volunteering provided an almost cathartical experience. As I grew older, I danced and sang in nursing homes and helped with church bazaars. It made me feel so great to know that someone else was actually getting the same feelings I did.
When I turned 20, I made the decision to devote the rest of my life to helping and volunteering for animal rights organizations. I think that in doing so, I can prove that not all young adults are self centered (although that was certainly my intention when I first began volunteering, just to make myself "look good").
Looking back, I think it is funny that I wanted to volunteer just to impress others, because now my opinions have completely changed, of course several years have passed.

I don't know why other people volunteer. I can suppose that the catharsis that occurs within onesself can be a reason, but I also tend to think that some people just volunteer to have something credible to their names, which may or may not be a bad thing, but I tend to put a negative connotation with it.

Anyway, I am rambling on....Have a good day guys!

I don't know if volunteering is as widespread over the entire united states, but I know the Twin Cities area has one of the highest volunteerism rates in the nation! The state has a lot to be proud of in that sense. I can only hope that as young people get more and more involved volunteering can spread even more!

Hi,all
After reading all of your comments, I feel so touched by your sincere thought. Thank you so much for sharing your true feelimg with us!

Not like American that people can take anything as they like, China is not as democratic.The government takes over most of the rights,for example, it blocked facebook recently; we don't have the access to Youtube either. It also uses searching engine to filtrat some of the information in GOOGLE怂You can never find people protesting in China

Day by day, people get more used to the situation and care less about their true feelings.That's why most of us (they still are some)including me are not so into issues like environment, human rights,energy saving etc.I felt so helpless when each time my roommate, who is a super human rights fans, talked about "Invisible Children","Tibet" with me.

It's lucky that I am in U.S ,otherwise I couldn't say anything agaist Chinese Government , you will find my comments blocked right away.

Hi,
I had no idea the government was that strict in China. I had understood that there was less freedom and what not, but it's crazy to think how much we take our freedom of speech for granted sometimes. Being here in the U.S. it must feel so much better to be able to speak your mind, and not have to hide your ideas.
One thing that does come to my mind thinking about this is that it's possible that as time goes on, our rights will also begin to decrease. Already it seems that some people who do speak out against our government do get in trouble. I was watching a video online, and all these people were doing was holding a sign on a public street that said "911 was an inside job" and the people were arrested even though they have a right to do that. It seems that as more and more people speak out against the government, more and more of our rights disappear. Although, I'm sure it's nothing like China. It still concerns me the direction things seem to be going.
On a different note, it seems that expressing yourself, in writing as well as other ways seems to be a big theme for our team teaching presentations. For me, writing is really powerful, it allows me to express my ideas even when I'm feeling shy and don't want to share them with others. Is writing a tool for other people, or is there another form of expressing yourself that is more powerful? Why do you think these tools have the power to heal?

Hi,
I had no idea the government was that strict in China. I had understood that there was less freedom and what not, but it's crazy to think how much we take our freedom of speech for granted sometimes. Being here in the U.S. it must feel so much better to be able to speak your mind, and not have to hide your ideas.
One thing that does come to my mind thinking about this is that it's possible that as time goes on, our rights will also begin to decrease. Already it seems that some people who do speak out against our government do get in trouble. I was watching a video online, and all these people were doing was holding a sign on a public street that said "911 was an inside job" and the people were arrested even though they have a right to do that. It seems that as more and more people speak out against the government, more and more of our rights disappear. Although, I'm sure it's nothing like China. It still concerns me the direction things seem to be going.
On a different note, it seems that expressing yourself, in writing as well as other ways seems to be a big theme for our team teaching presentations. For me, writing is really powerful, it allows me to express my ideas even when I'm feeling shy and don't want to share them with others. Is writing a tool for other people, or is there another form of expressing yourself that is more powerful? Why do you think these tools have the power to heal?

Hi everyone - Thanks for all of your great comments!

Liqiong - this semester I went to a great talk on campus and found out about an internet tool that was created by a pair of artists, specifically to circumvent censorship on the internet. It's been used successfully in China - you might want to use it when you're there. The website is at: http://www.picidae.net/

Prof. Minahal

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This page contains a single entry by duli0019 published on November 7, 2009 6:58 PM.

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