Today I read a great article on Medium referring to how much of ourselves gets lost in helping others instead of helping ourselves. Shouldn’t we instead focus on helping ourselves, then the world just automatically benefits from it. And I had me thinking (I unfortunately deleted the email that the article was in and no I can no longer find yet.) What if helping others IS who you are? Or can’t it just be part of who you are? I think so!
Growing up I was very shy, and I mean REALLY shy. In high school I wanted more than anything to join field hockey or the Art Club, but never acted upon for fear. Fear of what, I’m not sure. Not until I began my career in banking at 22 was I forced into becoming more social and extroverted. Then once my children came along I would talk with mothers of the other children in preschool or school. This only helped me extend my social network. (Before social media was as big as it was…but yes I had a MySpace account!)Starting the service to my community.
When my oldest child was 6, I became a CCD teacher. This fed into my long-time desire to be a teacher that never came into fruition because I was so focused on my art major in college. I then branched out to becoming a Cub Scout den leader for my younger son when he was 7. I did this for 5 years and now I am an Assistant Scoutmaster for the Boy Scout Troop in town.
Being part of an organization such as the Boy Scouts of America has really propelled me into a more volunteering role. They pride themselves on helping the community. We have taken part in helping clean up areas of town, food drives, raking etc.
I found volunteering made me feel great. Not just ‘happy,’ but more of a sense of community and blocking out a lot of the crap that is happening in the world around me and also made me feel hopeful.
The Avidia Smarties and Volunteering.
My volunteering efforts do not stop there. As a member of the Avidia Smarties, I volunteer when my schedule allows to other various organizations.
Two years in a row I was able to help out the Community Harvest Project at their apple orchard in Harvard, MA by picking apples with our awesome crew. These apples are donated to area food pantries or sold with proceeds that go back to the Community Harvest Project.
Unfortunately, I had to skip out on volunteering during the Special Olympics due to a fractured ankle, but I am planning donating a lot of my time to them by the end of 2017 along with my son Brandon.
Why do I do this?
There are SO many reasons. My children see me helping out in the community. I feel a sense of pride and purpose and I meet new people!
I’m also not the only one who sees the benefits of volunteering. Check out a few of the thousands of articles about the benefits of volunteering!
Where do I start?
Well, what do you enjoy doing most? Who could benefit from that skill? What are some organizations in your local community actively looking for volunteers?
Here are some great places to start:
Volunteermatch.org (Find organizations that would like volunteers based off of your interests!)
Catchafire.org (directed at professionalss who would be willing to donate services to non-profit organizations.)
MovingWorlds.org (Using your skills to help organizations around the globe.)
Now get out there and happy volunteering!