When things go wrong and in emergency situations, volunteers are always there. But it is also there when he repairs the net every day, full of unstitched and more or less visible strips.
Some expert voices say that volunteering has aged - and there is a bundle of data that confirms this - that it has stagnated, that it does not attract young people and that it will not overtake the current generation that practices it. That the days of volunteering are numbered, in short.
We must therefore overcome the bewilderment caused by this diagnosis. On the one hand, because it is the entire country that has aged and, on the other, because the best and the best of the elderly, highly skilled, committed and active people, are among us today, in the organizations, supporting causes and projects, and interacting with younger generations. The poor health of these people, and above all their legacy, is a powerful reference for the volunteer network. They give us hope.
The truth is that when data is bad and when faced with emergency situations, such as the nightmare of the pandemic, volunteering is always there. But it is also there when he repairs the net every day, full of unstitched and more or less visible strips. Perhaps for this reason, for having strained the seams of the teams so much during the years of the consecutive crises that began in 2008, we are now seeing the consequences. The hangover from all the suffering can be felt today, when we know of people who are exhausted, who take a leave of absence from volunteering for mental health, or who dismantle teams and projects of organizations.
And yet, the great social and environmental challenges that Europe indicates for the 21st century, and which no longer have anything to do with those of the 1980s, demand a place for volunteering. We will not be able to resign or delegate to anyone else. We are essential!
We will need to find new resilient ways to create community, to extend care and justice among equals, and to make development sustainable, if we really want it to be good for everyone and for the planet.