Volunteerism and Working with Volunteers
Life Skills in VolunteerismN. Seda Öztürk, Mustafa Erdoğan
Volunteerism involves the effort and assistance made without expecting a financial return. If that’s so, then what kind of contribution or yield can a work done without expecting financial return have that allows an individual to decide to become a volunteer? Or what kind of transformation does one experience when volunteering so that the experience of volunteering provides one with a gain? Thinking of the reward from the work done as being financial will both deprive the volunteer of the depth of the support the work provides as well as distract them from thinking about how volunteering contributes to one’s personal development. Volunteers develop for themselves a set of competences as a result of their contributions to various activities with the aim of creating social benefit and transformation in connection with an institution or movement. In order for individuals to transform their volunteering process into knowledge and learning, they need to define the experiences they’ve obtained step by step around the experiential learning cycle and complete the cycle. This chapter identifies how volunteering contributes to individuals’ life skills based on the eight key competences determined by the European Union. It emphasizes the extent to which volunteers’ processes of volunteerism are reflected in their personal development and life skills from the perspective of lifelong learning and what development areas are possible. The chapter mainly deals with the history of volunteerism being defined as learning and addresses European youth works, the eight key competences, experiential learning, and volunteerism as a learning process within this framework. The European Union Education and Youth Programmes’ definition of key competences in the process of transforming volunteering experiences into learning is an important issue these departments focus on, in particular through their contribution to civil society activities in the youth field .