Key to Europe

By: Jeroen Willemsen, Youth Development Working Group
Graphic: Public Relations Committee of AEGEE-Europe

We volunteer because it makes a difference.

To celebrate the work of volunteers around the globe, the United Nations General Assembly mandated the International Volunteer Day (IVD) to be held each year on the 5th of December. A day on which we have the chance to underscore the value of our members that contribute to development on personal, local, and international level.

The IVD came to into being after a General Assembly Resolution in 1985 as a way to stimulate economic and social development. Since then, governments have been invited to take measures and heighten the awareness of the critical contribution of voluntary work. This way the IVD was not just a possibility to thank the millions of volunteers, but also a way to clearly establish new input to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s).


We, as an association based on the work of young volunteers, would like to encourage young people all over Europe to go out and improve themselves. Not just will volunteering give you the chance to work on a desired goal, it also is of utmost importance to personal development. By voluntary work you broaden your perspective on the job market by building a network of other volunteers, establishing and strengthening skills, and discovering your interests.

Young Europeans are challenged in many dimensions. It is therefore that the benefits of volunteering to mental health, happiness, and a feeling of community, also need to be stressed. By volunteering you can have a purpose to something bigger. Through volunteering in AEGEE or other organisations we can have a social impact by bringing change to our societies and shaping Europe as we envision it. This feeling of a meaning and the connection to other people translates into an improved social function and a decrease in mental health issues.

Nevertheless we still have a long way to go in the recognition for the extraordinary work of volunteers around the globe. The International Volunteer Day helps us to appreciate the benefits of the great variety of voluntary work that is being done.

With this message we would like to contribute to the appreciation that all volunteers deserve. Whether you are an AEGEEan striving for a democratic, diverse and borderless Europe, or a volunteer in an intercontinental organisation that works on a wide variety of good causes: Thank you!

We wish you all a happy International Volunteer Day with loads of positive changes, an open mind, new skills, and a better world.


Go out and make a difference!

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