What is volunteer?

Volunteer is a concept that comes from the Latin word voluntarĭus. It is a term that can be used as a noun or as an adjective, always linked to the will: the power to make decisions and act on your own.

As a noun, volunteer refers to the person who decides to provide a service or perform a task of his or her own volition, without being obliged to do so for legal, contractual or economic reasons. For example: “Volunteers from the environmental entity staged a protest at the oil company’s headquarters” , “The city government granted eight volunteers for social work” , “On weekends I volunteer at an association that provides food for poor children ”.

The work that a volunteer does is known as volunteering. Through these actions, individuals decide to provide a service to the community without expecting anything in return: they do so for ethical, ideological or spiritual reasons. Different is the case of tasks that are carried out in the context of the work environment, where the person performs an activity in exchange for money. The adjective voluntary applies to the action that is specified by the person’s will and not by pressure or external obligation: “I want to make it clear that it is a voluntary act: no one forces me to do this”, “My retirement is voluntary because I had an offer to continue playing but I chose to reject it”, “In this country, voting is voluntary, although in several countries in the region it is mandatory”. Among the relatively modern spaces where the work of a volunteer is found are animal sanctuaries, non-profit organizations that are dedicated to giving a second chance to any animal that leads a bad life, such as those that have suffered some form of exploitation. Animal sanctuaries promote veganism, i.e. a diet that excludes animal products and, in general, a lifestyle that uses absolutely no other species as tools or raw materials. In these places, animals find an environment of equality in which they are not below any species, but on the same level, as they should be, as nature dictates. The human being has done everything possible to get away from our roots and our essence, to the point of needing clothes to cover the genitals and protect us from the cold and heat; so little do we recognize ourselves on this planet that we see fit to arrest and torture an animal, but we are horrified when a person is killed. As animal sanctuaries do not profit from the beings they rescue, economic problems are an almost intrinsic part of their structure. For this reason, the volunteer’s work is practically essential for his subsistence, and he may be involved in different tasks, some sporadic, others at a distance; Let’s see some examples below:

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* collaborate with the cleaning of the sanctuary. This is one of the most common volunteer jobs, as it can be done once or without strict frequency. Although it seems little, a day we dedicate to a sanctuary can make a difference; * provide veterinary services. As is well known, the animals that arrive at the sanctuaries are usually in a worrying state of health, as many of them come from slaughterhouses or bullrings, among other torture centers. The treatments and medicines that some need are very expensive, so volunteering is essential; * Assist in the maintenance of social media accounts or in the development of posters to increase the visibility of the sanctuaries on the Internet. A volunteer community manager can save a lot.

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