The joy of volunteerism

We young people are best to tell our own story on how we are affected by activities around us. I am a typical example of how the Head of State Award Scheme, a member of the International Award Association, can positively sharpen the lives of young people to achieve their full potential.

I was not whom I am now. This was a shy, quiet and confused young girl who least thought of how I can be an agent of change in my school and community at large. Within six months of joining the Award programme, I have experienced several positive changes and new attitudes and values; qualities that will live with me for the rest of my life. I can say that I have equally benefited a lot like all Award holders and the rewards that come with the Award are enormous. 

I did not actually understand the real world of work, challenges of daily life and what I wanted to be in future. Today, I can conclude in my own words that “school taught me how to study, but the Award programme has taught me how to live." 

I have learnt important skills like communication, leadership, planning and research among many others outside the classroom. My confidence in life has grown, and I have acquired qualities such as self-esteem and self-discipline. 

Today, I have learnt to re-define my own opinions as a growing young person not based on only the positive opinions of my peers but based on my own experiences. 

During the period of my service at the Governmental Hospital at Amasaman (Ghana), I came very close to patients whose tragedies have affected my life. I helped at the hospital on every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday during vacation. I did not regret doing this. 

I have learnt to exercise patience. I have given 70 hours of voluntary service to my community, loved and helped in diverse ways to save the lives of people I did not know.  My skills have been the most interesting section for me. I have always admired photo journalism and television camera work as a profession so I undertook my skill training and practical work at the Ghana Broadcasting Cooperation (GBC). Again, I have learnt a lot of enterprising experiences and the qualities needed to survive in this challenging and competitive world. The dignitaries, programmes, place and learning experiences that my work at GBC has given me is by far the most exciting days of my life. 

Now I know what happens behind the camera, how we get to hear the news; to be there in time to cover, how we assemble the story and learn to be focused on a task. Whenever I see on TV the programmes I recorded, shot or assisted to do, I feel so proud of my self achievements. 

I did not take sports or physical recreation seriously. I foresaw it as something for those who did not have time for any better thing, or those who needed it as a career or better still a subject. Because I had to do it for my Award I had no choice. But let me say l have not regretted it even though I’m not in the school team. I have developed some passion for basket-ball. I feel I am now focused, disciplined and strong. Although facilities are not available for most of us to choose the sports we would have desired, it’s fun. 

My Adventurous Journey was indeed an exciting one. It was my first moments of living a rural life and getting closer to nature. Life was not the same as in Accra and we understood the community’s problems. We felt pity for many children we interacted with who do not go to school; others without uniforms, books, shoes or money to buy food. We came back to Accra appreciating what we have. 

I will continue in my effort to develop myself and my nation through the Award programme and encourage others to do same. I will continue to volunteer my time, energy and resource to others because I now understand the joy of the giver in volunteerism. I will continue to engage in this programme of choice, in my effort to identify how great and a wealthy resource I am to myself, the community, the nation and generation yet unborn. 

If all young people will go beyond our school work and voluntarily contribute towards the development of our nations, not only will we be helping to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, but we will have created a better future for ourselves and generations unborn."

Charity, Ghana