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Charity Work... what's in it for me?

3 minute read


Charity begins at home, or so they say but what if home becomes a richer and more fulfilling place, in exchange for just a little of your time?


Perhaps you'd like to help a charity but can't justify the time away from family and friends. Maybe you're wondering what you have, to give to a cause close to your heart.


Take a look at the following 6 questions to decide if charity work is for you.


1 Who Am I?

Good question and one you'd expect from a therapist!

Cast your mind back to when you were a small child? If you feel your childhood was a happy one, what brought you joy? Did you play? Did you read?


Move forward to your teenage years. Were they awkward, in a world where nobody understood you? Did you make questionable fashion choices (this one is irrelevant but usually the answer is yes!). Maybe life was difficult from an early age and your world was a confusing and difficult place to navigate.

Either way, these were your formative years and no doubt they held hopes and dreams for a life of freedom, doing what you love. One of the key factors in the stages of development of the human brain is cognitive development. From the age of 11 we enter something called the Formal Operational Stage. This means we start to understand abstract things like freedom. We start to to explore political and ethical issues too. We also start to imagine what the future might look like. Sound familiar?!


Now think about today. Are you free, fulfilled and in love with your life the way you hoped you would be?


2 Who matters to me?

Family, friends, pets, work colleagues, myself? Someone else? Only you can decide this one.


3 What matters to me?

By the time we become an adult, the human brain will have made love and justice tangible things in a quest for meaning. Think about what these mean to you and how you relate to the people in your life. (see Question 2).


From the age of 13, the human brain is developing a sense of justice and doing what is right, even if it means acting against the law because the laws of the land feel too restrictive. Does that sound familiar too? Ask yourself if you still hold those beliefs or if you hold beliefs that mean an awful lot to you. Just make sure it's legal, whatever it is!


4 Which charity is right for me?

So that's the personal exploration out of the way. We've thought about who we are and what matters to us. Now think about a charity that aligns with all of that. What is precious to you? What do you want to protect? What do you want to see change? What brings you joy, fulfillment and love? I think you know.


5 What can I offer?

Yourself. You know who you are now. You know what matters to you. In your quest for meaning, you gained skills, knowledge, values and beliefs, one way or another. You are unique and there is no-one quite like you, wherever life took you. Those things you dreamt of, that never came true?... these can be yours too, if you open yourself up to new opportunities. A charity will benefit from what you have but you can also gain so much in return.


6 Do I have time?

As they say, we don't find time. We make time. You know who you are and what matters to you. That's got to be worth investing in. What can you do to make time? It might mean giving something up for half a day or so but what matters more? Once again, only you can answer that one.


Think about what you could be doing to make your life better while you help to improve the lives of others.


Now go, find your cause. Fulfill it, bring it home and be happy.


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You can find out more about me and my work by getting in touch via the Contact page here on my website.


My professional practice is based at Counselling In The Community (CITC) in Blackpool. If you feel you need help, please call CITC on 0808 196 3483. The phone lines are open 10:00 - 18:00 Monday to Friday and 10:00 - 14:00 Saturday.


Please note that CITC is not a crisis service. If you have been affected by the contents of this blog, you can seek help out of hours and here is some useful information from Mind :


Counselling In The Community is a charity that does not benefit from Government funding. You can access their counselling services for as little as £5 per session if you are not working and for £10 if you are working. There is a waiting list so please enquire as to availability.


Counselling In The Community : 15 Waterloo Road, Blackpool FY4 1AD.

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References

James Fowler (1940 – 2015) Stages of Faith

Kohlberg (1927 – 1987) Moral development stages

Erik Erikson’s stage model

Jean Piaget (1896 – 1980)


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