When I first got married, it seemed like the husband’s unit needed spouse volunteers for everything. I worked full time and it wasn’t really my thing, so I never participated. Face it, we’ve all heard the FRG/FRO horror stories. I never considered it again.
Until we moved overseas. I had been trying to get a job, but wasn’t having any luck. After a few months, I needed a break from my toddler and I was in desperate need of adult interaction. I started volunteering at the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society. The experience completely changed my outlook on volunteering. While it may not be for everyone, there are definitely pros to it.
This doesn’t work for everything, but many organizations can offer good skills to add to a resume. So many of us think as volunteering as doing the grunt work, but that is not even remotely true. Many offer volunteer positions that have a job description like any paid position. It also helps fill in those big gaps when you don’t work at a duty station.
This was initially the main reason I started volunteering. While I only did it twice a week, it was enough time to have the adult interaction I craved. The husband was working 12+ hour days and I needed someone besides a toddler to talk to.
You Support The Cause
Many spouses volunteer when their spouse’s unit is deployed. It helps keep the spouses together and keeping busy helps the time fly. The Red Cross (at least in Okinawa) had a number of legit job positions, in things like case management, media, and IT, that were all volunteer. I picked NMCRS because I had previous financial experience and I enjoy work like that.
Perks and Benefits
Many organizations will offer some kind of benefit for your volunteer time. This could range from paying for your childcare during your volunteer time, to offering free admittance to events. It never hurts to ask if they do somehow compensate you for your time.
Learning or Improving Skills
If you’ve always been interested in learning how to do something, but hadn’t had the chance, why not volunteer to do it if you can? I’ve never been a fan of public speaking, but I started doing briefs for NMCRS. Nothing like speaking in front of 200 Marines. I slowly got better at it and while I still don’t love public speaking, it was good for me to put myself out there.