Adventures in Volunteerland

Updated: Apr 12

How volunteering changed my life and what I've learned along the way...

Welcome to the Stoics + Care blog! We're so happy you're joining us to learn how Stoicism and caretaking complement each other. In our first blog post, we hear from Stoicare co-founder Eve Riches on her personal journey to community caretaking. Below you'll learn

  • some of the amazing community-based projects Eve has worked on

  • how to make and stick to a 'volunteer budget' to prevent burnout

  • the theory behind Stoicism and care

  • how to select the best type of volunteering for you and

  • how to get started volunteering--even in your pajamas!

My Volunteering Journey

I started volunteering when I was seven and over the years I’ve had so many exciting, rewarding and fun experiences. I have made some long-term commitments but have not stayed with a particular charity or type of role throughout my career as I was always motivated to contribute to the greater good rather than having a particular cause I wanted to support.

Developing New Skills

I have found myself learning a huge variety of skills. These have included everything from how to do bridal makeup when I organised a fashion show to celebrate equal marriage legislation in the UK, to developing my mentoring skills when I was supporting looked-after children in their foster placements. I even had to work out how to renovate a bathroom when there was absolutely no budget for it as part of a community café project.

New Experiences

Along the way I’ve met so many amazing people, from those dealing with huge personal pressures like managing serious health conditions and dealing with trauma, to working alongside foster carers or guide dog trainers. It’s been an absolute privilege to meet these people and hear their stories. Some of the experiences will stay with me forever and will always be a reminder of what I am so grateful for in my own life. For example, if I ever feel frustrated with being a long cane user I can remember meeting a blind sixteen year old who was using her hands to navigate the world, with no cane or guide dog to help her.

I’ve travelled alone to speak to teachers and vets in Romania, I’ve worked within close-knit local teams in my community and I’ve volunteered from my own home. I’ve built a habitat for otters in a heatwave and I’ve shivered through a door to door collection for unwanted glasses. I feel incredibly lucky to have been able to take part in these projects. Although it wasn’t my aim when I started this journey, my current career directly developed from my voluntary roles, as the skills and experiences lead to me being offered really exciting and meaningful work.