Natasha Peavy (Social Action in Rome) – Why volunteer?Rome Internships, Spring 2012
If you had asked me at the beginning of my study abroad semester, “why volunteer?” I might have given you an answer like this:
“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” Volunteer because it’s good for your soul and it’s good for the world… Everybody wins.
Let’s diverge for a second…
I know that it’s impossible to predict the course of your life, and I’m a big believer in not trying to – rather, I prefer to just go with the flow. You’ll never know how great (or terrible) something will be until you try. This is why I try to say yes to every opportunity that comes my way, because I know that no matter what happens, it will either be an awesome experience or something I can learn from (or both).
So, when I arrived in Rome and found out that I could still be part of an internship, I immediately said yes. When my internship coordinator Simona suggested volunteering at La Casa Famiglia to me, knowing my interest in psychology, I decided to try it out. Why not?
La Casa Famiglia is a place where teenage girls live when they, for whatever reason, cannot live with their own families. Over the course of three and a half months I met and got close with ten girls, one nun and about ten different volunteers/tutors/other interns.
I had no idea the kind of work I would get into, and to this day, I could not tell you exactly what it is that I did each day I spent there. What I can tell you is that now, at the end of my semester, I will answer the question of “why volunteer” in a very different way that I would have before. I would tell you that I volunteered so I could… play sports with a nun, or meet Italian children (and teenagers and even elderly women), or get scolded by a dance instructor with a gemstone embedded in her tooth, or play Charades in Italian (I know it’s a silent game but still you have to guess in some language!) and … all right, it’s become clear that now I’m just getting nostalgic and listing all of my internship memories.
Still, like I said, you never know what life is going to give you, and I certainly could never have expected to do any of the things I just mentioned above… which is exactly why I volunteer.
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