By Dickson Tumuramye
The S.6 vacation is always the longest that students get. But some spend much of it just relaxing at home, yet there is much they can do to benefit from the holiday if they take on a training program and acquire skills.
This can either be on a voluntary basis or taking on a job where they can earn. But where they cannot get a formal job, children can be placed somewhere for work informally and learn a lot. Today we will focus on volunteerism. This can also cut across to those who have graduated but have not yet gotten jobs.
Doing voluntary work this holiday is better than staying home doing nothing. Volunteerism will help your child gain not only working experience but also provide him/her with the opportunity to develop key employability skills such as teamwork, leadership, office management, communication, customer care, problem-solving, negotiation, organisational, time management, record keeping, which recruiters search for. It is also one of the greatest learning experiences.
Send your child to a company or organisation which one day will give him/her a competitive opportunity when applying for a job or doing interviews. Your child can stand a better chance with the work experience and attained skills. The child may get inspired for future career direction. This can be a life-changing experience when it becomes a permanent part of your children’s lives.
Some parents have their own offices or businesses, schools, farms etc where their children can get an opportunity to be placed. You can also choose to take your child to your office and give him/her tasks where he/she can gain such knowledge and skills. You are your no.1 teacher and inspiration to your children in life. Before they should look at anyone else as a hero or a champion, before looking for role models out, you should take the first place.
This comes with the way you care about them and involve them in different tasks that shape their future. Some may not take your advice as they may not feel comfortable to work with you. But if you have been good friends and they have been looking up to you, they will be delighted to take it up and enjoy that moment.
If a child does not like working with you in your office/business, don’t force him/her. You can ask them what they would prefer. You can choose also to place him/her under your trusted friend’s office. The work experience a child picks from that period will one day make a difference. Some people have volunteered in certain places and later they are retained. Others with good service offered, they are considered for some payment. But it all started from the positive spirit of volunteerism.
Volunteerism can also focus on community service where you involve your children in helping out like elderly people. They can fetch them water, mop their houses, clean utensils, wash clothes etc. If you have one in your neighborhood, you can encourage the child to do it once or more days in a week. All this is about imparting a positive working attitude in your child beyond money and help them learn how to work rather than sitting home.
When they also learn to give a service once they are still children, they will find it even easy to give when they are adults and we will be able to raise a generation that is compassionate to others, children with humility, who like to serve above self, those not only looking at money as the only way to make ends meet in life and who have a spirit of servanthood.
Volunteerism comes with opportunities of networking and working with people from all sorts of backgrounds. Why not help your gain some hands-on experience while making a positive difference to young lives? What they learn will not only be multi-fold, but also multi-directional.
The writer is a child advocate and counselor based in Kampala.