A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions. – Oliver Wendell Holmes
…it is not nearly enough to [see] how the world is. We must also … think about how it ought to be. Without some hope for a better world, it is all too easy to think only of oneself and all too easy to leave the responsibilities of citizenship to others. – Harringer and Ford, 1989
Without reflection a [volunteer experience] is incomplete and participants will not experience as much personal growth…Students may talk among themselves informally, but they aren’t likely to include everyone in the discussion or thoroughly process the topic at hand….Students often experience things they have never seen and emotions they have never felt. Reflection validates participants’ feelings by providing a safe space for participants to deal with what they are going through with a group of people who are experiencing the same thing. Without reflection, individuals may not deal with anxiety, fear, anger, sadness, and confusion. Thus, they may experience emotional overload or burnout and return home with negative feelings…Positive emotions such as happiness, love and hope need a chance to be processed and appreciated as well. – Sarah Seames
10 Reasons for Reflection:
- Reflecting together makes volunteering more fun!!
- Reflecting helps you remember why what you do matters!!
- Reflecting together on the importance of your service motivates you to show up each week and to give your all to your service.
- Studies show that people are more committed to lifelong service if they regularly reflect on volunteering.
- Agencies who host groups of volunteers report that groups that reflect together each day before leaving the placement are much better volunteers and more effective in relating with the people they serve.
- You have the chance to reflect on what you value and the person you want to be.
- The group gets to know and value each other through sharing on a deeper level.
- It’s a chance to problem solve and notice how to better serve the people at your placement.
- You learn more about why you are doing what you are doing.
- Reflection helps you to develop personal and employability skills.