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Volunteering with Vidha: How Volunteering Taught Me the Importance of Being Adventurous

October 25, 2022

During the pandemic, with the long, never-ending, monotonous days where I began to think it might be this way forever, volunteering pulled me out of the dark hole that I had slipped into. You might think I’m exaggerating. Maybe you don’t. But either way, I can most certainly attest to how beneficial volunteering can be to those who feel isolated, lonely, and out of touch.

I think it was around June of 2021 when I was sitting outside, reclining against a lawn chair, aimlessly looking up at the cloudy sky, wondering about how I hadn’t had an in-person conversation with someone in weeks. My mom saw me that way and must’ve gotten pretty worried because the next day, we were on our way to volunteer at an Oceanside trash cleanup. She must’ve thought that I would somehow magically become more social by traveling to somewhere I’d only been once in my life, with people who were basically strangers.

I went anyway, without protesting much because I could at least fulfill some of my volunteer hours. I remember the car ride there too–mainly me staring out at the window, earphones plugged in, hardly even registering the music that was playing. By the time we had reached our destination, my resolution to fulfill some of my hours had faded away. I just wanted to go home. But one of the volunteers there saw our aimless faces and dragged us into the crowd. It almost looked like a party–with all the chattering, the food lying on the tables, and the festive, jolly mood in the air.

When we went around the neighborhood, scavenging for trash, the fresh air, the unfamiliar area, and the different, interesting people all appealed to me. They all fused together into  a block of experiences that I now classify as the “Oceanside trip.” I found myself smiling a little more that day. And after then, whenever I think about the hopelessness of the pandemic, how it was all never going to end, I think about that day. How in a world as big as ours, our small, little community could band together and really bring about something beautiful and joyous.  

The pandemic is mostly over now. Yet even so, even the best of us feel alone, out-of-touch sometimes. This is what I want to end with – try something new because, why not? It might be good. 

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