Gino: One decisive factor for me was that I had an interest in developing countries from an early age. Besides travelling, I also lived in India, Malaysia and Indonesia and witnessed what poverty means on a daily basis, so I decided to make an active contribution myself. During my studies of International Business Administration with a focus on emerging markets, I realized that although you can make monetary donations, you can often achieve a more sustainable impact through social engagement.
What skills do you gain from volunteering that help you in your job?
Gino: Sticking with the example of the Special Olympics, I would definitely say that I learned how to work efficiently in intercultural teams, because both my team members and the athletes came from different countries. My second takeaway is that I now want to integrate celebrating successes much more into my everyday working life. It was a great feeling to be happy and proud together with the athletes after an intense competition.
Andrea, you are in close contact with the employees who volunteer. Is there anything else you can add?
Andrea: First of all, you always notice the emotional impact of it all. Most colleagues say: "You give something and you get so much more in return". Volunteering also increases openness because you get to know new perspectives and have these special experiences. Paired with this, you certainly also learn the required agility. You are often pushed out of your comfort zone and have to react spontaneously to situations.
Gino, what skills do you think people should have if they want to volunteer?
Gino: One important aspect is that you shouldn't have any fears or prejudices. I will soon be taking part in swimming lessons with students who have special needs. That means: Putting on your swimming trunks and helping with the lessons!
Another aspect is that you should have a fundamental passion for social engagement and not consider volunteering as PR for yourself.
How do you decide which projects to support?
Andrea: We made a conscious decision not to place any restrictions. Individual volunteering in particular should simply be a matter of the heart. However, education is usually the focus of the projects that Henkel organizes.