The power to be useful

It is the new slogan of the Civil Service, the French volunteering programme. It looks like the EVS programme for French people between 16 and 25 years old. They commit themselves to the community and to the general interest of a mission in France or abroad. For example, our new volunteers Tanguy and Camille are part of this programme.

The French Civil Service posts on social media interviews with volunteers about the power to be useful. But what does it mean precisely? On which way volunteer’s usefulness is a real power, without taking care of his sending program, his host association or his mission?


At first sight, the power to be useful is when someone got involved to a specific action which respond to a need. Some volunteers say it is “taking care of health” (Corine), “having a positive impact around us” (Fania) or “working together for a most united society” (Alisson). Each volunteer defines it in different way, because of their experience. But the common thread is always a contribution for a better world. It is a poetic way to define but in concrete terms how can we work for it?

There is a lot of ways to be useful. This includes offering your services in an association or a Non-Governmental Organization, just for few missions or regularly, like every day, every week or every month. In this case you can become a volunteer. A lot of volunteering programs exist, such as EVS, Youth exchange, ECS, or local volunteering programs like the Civil Service in France. Some people decide to be useful otherwise. They find an occupation in this kind of sectors such as medical or social sectors. Or, they work in a company with a motivating project/product with good values.

The power to be useful is to be part of an adventure, find your place in a team. No matter where, it is useful to someone. To say it in a most concrete way, if you are a volunteer both at the good spot and the nice moment, there is no doubt that you’ll be able to do crazy and unexpected things.

You are at the top of your competences and you win because you give a lot of yourself to something which is important to you. It could be volunteering, entrepreneurship, charity work… on condition that you are feeling good, you do just positive things, to you and the others. And thanks to this motivation, your project that you realize or the cause you defend is a success. Thus, you contribute to a better society.


“On n’est jamais trop volontaire, jamais trop actif, jamais trop résolu. Mieuxvautagirqu’espérerou trembler.”* – André Comte-Sponville, Le Goût de vivre et cent autres propos, 2010.
It means you must be motivated and passionate to realize great things. We can always do better, go further. Everything is possible if you really want it and if you focus on your goals. So, let’s go, have a try, create and build what you want before the others impose it to you. Define your aims, plan and create. Don’t be afraid about that, the only way to success is trying, failing and doing it again!

To sum up, going abroad or staying in your country, working as a volunteer, for few months or few days could be one of the best adventures in your life.

And to you, what is the power to be useful?

Camille Labbaye

*One is never too voluntary, never too active, never too resolute. Better to act than to hope or to tremble.

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Cover photo by fotografierende from Pexels

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