Written by Tiana Perez
There you stand, not because you have to, but because you want to. You’ve found that passion that got you out of bed and you made an effort to be somewhere outside of your normal comfort zone. You look around you and realize you’re surrounded by people with similar passions. At first you’re nervous. Perhaps you don’t know anyone, but knowing that you have all decided to be here in support of the same cause makes you realize these strangers are more familiar than you thought.
This is what I refer to as a Passion Blind Date, but most people might it know it better as “Volunteering.”
If you have never volunteered before, I would highly recommend it. Unlike the typical, “volunteer to make a difference” reasons that you probably get bombarded with whenever anyone talks about volunteering, I’m going to tell you why volunteering benefits YOU.
- FRIENDSHIPS: When you find a cause, organization, or event you feel passionate about, it not only makes you more inclined to want to get involved, but it also ensures that you’ll meet people with similar passions. When you meet people who share your passions, you make friends for life.
- REPUTATION: The more you volunteer the more you run into familiar faces. As you get to know more people through your volunteering you’ll earn yourself a reputation and often times you find that you will now be able to depend on the people who have depended on you. Many of the friends I have made through volunteering have gone on to become leaders in other organizations throughout the community. If ever I need their support, I know I can depend on them because I have consistently been there when they needed my help.
- NETWORKING: The connections you make with people through a common passion is undeniably the best network you will ever make. I have friends who are professionals in all sorts of areas: Doctors, Filmmakers, Engineers, Designers, Teachers, Artists, Performers, etc. Just by volunteering I have made friends with people who have offered to cater, DJ, ordain, and photograph my wedding.
- ENJOYMENT: Sometimes the events you volunteer with are events you would like to attend but can’t afford. As a high school student I used to volunteer at San Diego Comic Con because they would allow volunteers to enjoy the convention after their shifts. For a long while, that was the only way I was able to afford to attend.
Whatever your reason for volunteering, I encourage you to get involved in something you love. I guarantee you’ll meet some wonderful people in the process. If you need some direction on where to start well, you’re in luck!
Reel Pride 2016 is right around the corner and we will be looking to fill about 250 volunteer spots this year. Come meet some great people, start your community network, and enjoy a free film or two as our thank you for donating your time. You can learn more about Reel Pride at www.reelpride.com and sign up to volunteer at: http://signup.com/go/PvECUF