I've done a lot of volunteer work in my life - not as much as some people, never as much as I should - but I've done enough of it to list it as one of my hobbies.  Anyone who's ever volunteered knows these things:

1. Volunteering feels good.  Even just wanting to help others is a sign of a healthy life.  Most people who volunteer for one cause are willing to volunteer for other causes.  (Charities know this, and this is why donating to one organization can put you on the mailing lists for other organizations forever!)  Another perk about volunteer work is that you can develop skills for your career or hobby that will enhance your resume and/or teach you new things. 
2. Volunteering can be challenging; you can feel overwhelmed, bored, helpless, taken advantage of, et cetera, depending on the situation.  A bad volunteer experience can make you not want to volunteer again.

With this in mind, I checked out a book from the library called "Everyone Helps, Everyone Wins: How Absolutely Anyone Can Pitch In, Help Out, Give Back, and Make the World a Better Place."  While it's not yet the kind of book that I make my loved ones read (Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends and Influence People," or anything by Anne Lamott, Stephen King, or Flannery O'Connor), I think it's a great book with much to say.  As soon as I am done with it, check it out from the library!

The point that I would like to make is that anyone can do volunteer work, and you can decide how much time, effort, money, talent that you put into a cause.  It's under your control!  You can choose where to go, whom or what to help, and for how long.  Isn't that liberating?  The best part is that you can know that you are making a difference, however small, and that you are appreciated, if not by those you help, then at least by the cosmos.

You can choose to do something as time-consuming and monumental as working for the Peace Corps or starting your own foundation, or you can do something as quick, easy, and non-committal as picking up trash on your morning walk, writing a letter, or putting an item in the food donation box at the grocery store.  The aim is not to outdo yourself or to stress out over volunteering, but to make a volunteering a steady habit in your life, in whatever form you choose.  If you don't have money, give time.  If you don't have time, give money.  If you don't have either, then start with something small. 

If you're looking for new opportunities for volunteer work, I highly recommend the website  It's fantastic.  It matches your availability and interests with the kinds of volunteer work needed.  (Did you know that there is even "virtual" volunteer work for those who can't travel to a site?)  Go there today and see what opportunities might interest you!

At the very least, I'd like to say that even donating $10 to the Red Cross is something very, very good.  So please, do a little, give a little back, pay it forward.  Feel free to share your do-gooding stories on here! 

1 comment:

  1. mommy,very very nice blog! people are going to love it very most. love Charlotte P.S I love you


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