Because over the next few minutes it takes you to read this article I am going to talk to you about why each of you needs to give up at least one hour of your life a week to another. Also, how your small donation of time can make changes in the communities locally and around the world. Too, how you can gain personal satisfaction and rewards by doing so.
What am I talking about? That is simple. I’m talking about why you should become a volunteer!
Now I cam hear you saying, “ No Way! Why should I be a volunteer?” It’s a logical question and there is no one right answer for everybody, but I can tell you this:
1. By giving up one hour a week, month or even a year, you can have a significant effect on someone or something.
2. When you volunteer, you get to learn new skills yourself besides impacting the life of somebody else.
3. You get to learn about your community and the people who live there.
4. Want another good reason? You get to have fun because you are working at something you enjoy or are interested in and you make new friends along the way.
Of course, everybody’s biggest complaint is, “ I don’t have time.” With even just one half-hour a week you can make a difference. For example, you can provide comfort to a “latch-key” child through the phone-buddy program. You could help the homebound by grocery shopping for them while your out doing your own.
By volunteering one hour a week, you could read a newpaper to a blind person or talk to an elderly person. Elderly people are full of knowledge and experience. You keep them company and gain back valuable information and life skills.
You could also go right to your downtown areas and help feed a homeless family a nutritious lunch at a soup kitchen. You could tutor a child and help them excel in school. The smiles and joy on a child’s face you will receive when they finally pass a test and show you their work is priceless.
Helping out one morning, evening, a day or a month makes a significant difference in persons life. Now, take for example an unknown lady down the road, she’s a little bitty thing, you always thought was such a delicate and feminine thing. Who would have thought that she’d be out there slinging hammers with the best of them. Because of her willingness to get out there and volunteer, someone will have a home tonight. If she and other’s can do it, so can you.
If you have a little bit more time, volunteer to be a Big Brother or a Big Sister. You will definitely have a major impact on a child’s life. All you have to do is volunteer a little time, and genuine concern for children. Everyday hundreds of children locally cry out for help. Help that you could give if you would just be willing to put yourself out there for a little bit of time.
Do you want to be a hero? By donating 1 pint of blood you can save the lives of three people. How’s that for being a hero? Afraid of needles? Then drive the van or serve as a coordinator.
Ok, now I’ve told you volunteering is fun and some impacts you make on a life or a community, now how about some of the perks. Yes, there are a lot of perks.
Need to spend more quality time with your family. Well grab the kids, load them in the car and take them along to volunteer too. There are loads of volunteer programs for families and it is an inexpensive way for everyone to have fun and be educational at the same time. You also help to build the character of your children when you allow them to volunteer too.
There’s always an organization needing help for whatever you would like to do. All you have to do is find an organization that taps into your skills, or your “inner self” and you are on your way to making dreams come true. For example, want a vacation, but can’t afford one? Lots of organization’s give free passes and discounts to places in exchange for your help. Some even give small stipends and free health insurance.
Have the time and want to get really adventurous than consider traveling and helping out some organizations that deal with exotic animals and the ecosystems. All you need is a sleeping bag and some rain gear.
Maybe you didn’t know that some colleges offer academic credit for volunteer excursions. If you can’t find an organization to suit your needs and talents, but want to be a volunteer, than get creative and start your own.
Let me start wrapping things up by saying, don’t consider volunteering as something you do for people who are not as fortunate as yourself. Instead, begin to think of volunteering as an exchange. Consider that most people find themselves in need at some point of help in their lives. Today, you may be the person with the ability to help, but tomorrow you may be the recipient of someone else’s volunteer effort.
You see, our communities are made up of people. Each and every one of us shapes our communities in many ways. If we work together through volunteering, our communities a more pleasant place to love and we will gain a better understanding of appreciation for not only ourselves, but our neighbor’s.
It has been said that, “ There is no greater gift you can give someone that of yourself.” A friend told me many years ago, “Volunteering is like having a bag of M&M’s and a warm fuzzy feeling inside all at once that transcends to everyone you meet.” I’ve tried it and she’s right.
So go buy yourself a bag of M&M’s then get out there and share your talents, hobbies, goals and dreams, but most of all yourself with another person. Become a role model and/or mentor. Go out and get that warm fuzzy feeling. You won’t regret it.
If you don’t, you may just be missing out on meeting some of the most interesting and best people.
If you do volunteer work of any kind, please feel free to share your stories and your experiences. Your testimonies and stories may just be the inspiration to get another person started volunteering. Have a desire to volunteer, but not sure where in your neighborhood you might be of help, just ask, and let others give you some ideas.
Photograph courtesy of Zany's PlayPen Cubit.