Why do you do it? What is your definition of volunteering? Do you think that if you volunteer at your child’s school that is volunteering? Do you think helping out in your child’s Sunday school class is? What does volunteering mean to you?
As I have matured, so has my view on volunteering. I use to think that doing things at my child’s school was volunteering. Maybe you did (or do) too. But my thoughts have changed. I am not saying that you shouldn’t do things at your child’s school, you should. As a matter of fact, I think that doing things with your child’s school or activities they are involved in, is just part of being a parent. Not volunteering.
My definition of volunteering is someone who is unpaid, and does something without benefit to self or family. How many people do you know who only help when their child is involved? Now think of someone you know who helps just because.
I have been fortunate to be surrounded by just such a group of people, like the woman who started a place for grieving children when she lost one of her own. Imagine being surrounded by death everyday when you have lost a child and you do it because there is a need and you want to help or the group of people who I serve with on the board for Fourth Street School. This is a school for special needs children. Not one member has a child in that school or even is connected to a special needs child in anyway. These people who I admire, volunteer because they want to help others, they want to make a difference, because it’s the right thing to do. These are the kind of people I want to surround myself with, these are the people I want to be like.
Many times it is easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of our days and say we don’t have time to volunteer. That we are too busy and even if we had time, can one person make a difference? Don’t think you have to change the world, just make the place you live, better. By doing that, who knows how you can affect the world. Have you ever heard of the book – The Five People You Meet In Heaven? By the title you might surmise that you might meet Jesus or some other famous person from the Bible. That is not the case. It is about people whose lives have been touched by the main character and he doesn’t even know it till he meets them in heaven. He doesn’t know how he has changed their lives. Volunteering is much like that – you don’t even know who you will make a difference to.
I volunteer for a variety of reasons. I feel it’s my responsibility to help others, I want to make a difference in someone’s life, and I want to offer hope – because I know what it is like to feel hopeless. And for a very selfish reason-it makes me feel good.
So, why do you do it? Or perhaps the question for you is, why don’t you?