The Impact of Volunteering and its Meaningful Connections

Posted on: February 13, 2023Philadelphia
A group photo of NHC members holding brown paper yard waste bags, brooms, and rakes while standing in an empty pool clearing out leaves
Volunteering makes a difference - NHC members
volunteering at a local rec center helping them
prep their pool for spring

Most people see volunteering as simple as spending an hour or two of your time helping out. You may feel like you did nothing special during that hour or two. You may even think to yourself, how do my volunteering efforts make a difference? It may not seem like much to you, but to the people in the community you are helping, you make a world of difference. Volunteering is much more than “helping out”. When you volunteer, you are impacting the lives of those in your local community and creating meaningful connections along the way.

During my time serving as a clinic liaison at a resettlement agency called Nationalities Service Center, the way I see volunteering has shifted to being more than “helping”. As a clinic liaison, I assist recently arrived refugees to access health care in the U.S. I schedule and attend appointments with my clients and guide them to manage their health independently. I am doing much more than helping my clients because I am also building relationships with them.

A world map
Making connections around the world - the countries
where our refugees have come from

For those who are not aware, refugees are individuals who are seeking safety in another country due to a lack of concern or safety in their home country. Due to this, many clients have past traumas that can reflect in the way they respond to their transition to the U.S. That is why in my role, it is important to be transparent, culturally sensitive, and have consistent communication with my clients. By creating a more open form of communication, I am able to create stronger connections with my clients where they feel comfortable trusting me to help them. The connections I build with my clients can often promote growth in their personal, physical, and mental well-being, so it is important that I am creating these relationships with my clients. I am doing more than just helping - I am creating meaningful connections with my clients where they can rely on me during a difficult transition in their life.

Whether you are volunteering at your local food shelter, hospital, or community organization, your role as a volunteer plays a much bigger part than you think. Volunteering allows one to create meaningful connections and moments with those in your local community. As I continue with my service year, I am grateful for the experience of making a difference in the lives of the people I serve while creating these bonds along the way.

About the Author:

Donna Tran

Name: Donna Tran (she/her)

Host Site: Nationalities Service Center

Position: Clinic Liaison 

Where are you from? Mays Landing, NJ

Host Site

1216 Arch Street
1216 Arch Street