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Volunteers of America January 31, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Happiness, Life Balance.

220px-Lightning_striking_the_Eiffel_Tower_-_NOAAVolunteerism works best when we work from a place of passion ~ the intersection between what we love doing and what needs doing.

Volunteering shouldn’t feel like a sacrifice; it should feel like a reward.

If it doesn’t, further evaluation is needed to find a better “fit” for our unique talents and interests.

First ask, “What do I love doing?” Then, find someone who needs help doing it.

Hmm . . . what do I love doing?

Reading.  Writing.  Playing with words.  Leafing through books.  Hanging out in bookstores.  Visiting the library.

The library!  That’s it!

To create a meaningful volunteer experience based on my interests, I joined the Friends of the Island Library.  The Friends make the Island Library special by offering lecture and travel series, children and teen programs, a monthly book club, and rotating art exhibits in the display cases.

This week, I’m helping set up and price books for the Annual Book Sale ~ the Friends’ main fundraiser for the year.

I’m excited!

Quote:  Don’t worry about what the world wants from you, worry about what makes you come more alive.  Because what the world really needs are people who are more alive.  ~ Lawrence Le Shan

No rules.  Just write!

Over the years, I’ve volunteered in other capacities that suited me to a “T” as well ~  coordinating the Moot Court Competition in NC, serving the NC Bar Association on its Ethics committee,  fundraising for the United Way, acting as a judge for CANStruction in Salisbury, organizing a Bowl-A-Thon for a sick child, teaching Yoga to middle schoolers, gleaning fields in Western MD, boxing food donations for the hungry, mentoring and speaking on career panels, serving on Reunion committees, etc.

What about you?  What volunteer positions have been a perfect (or not-so-perfect) fit for your time and talents?

Related posts:  Volunteers Seem To Thrive (AgriGirl) * We Can’t All Be Mother Teresa * What The World Really Needs * Generosity of Spirit * Live Your Life


1. Paula Tohline Calhoun - January 31, 2011

Wonderful reminder, Nancy! People should understand that volunteering is the most important investment one can make, and it doesn’t cost, necessarily, a single dime – just your time and talents. Throwing money at a cause (even though that is needed and helpful) does not do as much good as a few hours devoted to the people who most need your capabilities – in whatever capacity is most suited to you.

I generally serve in one of both of two ways: my favorite is the sort of service that brings me into “one-on-one” contact. I love interacting with people on a personal level (bet you couldn’t guess that!). The other way is being an “idea” person – as long as it’s not also up to me to organize and execute those ideas! Organization has never been my forte!

Thanks, Nancy, for your call to arms, legs, bodies, and most of all hearts!

nrhatch - January 31, 2011

Wonderful comment, PTC.

You’e correct ~ I figured that personal interaction would suit you perfectly. Like you, I love being an “idea” person . . . with minions to carry those ideas into fruition. 😉

2. Cindy - January 31, 2011

My main volunteering efforts are with young gay people needing help with coming out to their parents. I generally do my bit wherever I can.

nrhatch - January 31, 2011

That’s awesome.

It’s very challenging when we are forced to tell our parents, that we are not who they hoped we would be.

3. SuziCate - January 31, 2011

This was a post I needed. Volunteering is much more rewarding when doing what you love. With me it usually involves children or the elderly.

nrhatch - January 31, 2011

My favorite volunteering has often involved mentoring children and young adults ~ helping them to make more conscious, mindful decisions.

4. Carol Ann Hoel - January 31, 2011

Most, perhaps all, of my volunteering has been in my church across the years. I loved doing it!

You have done a lot of volunteering. You are blessed. More blessings to you, Nancy…

nrhatch - January 31, 2011

I have volunteered in many different capacities over the years and have always enjoyed offering service when it aligns with my interests.

Volunteering is good for our hearts. 🙂

5. souldipper - January 31, 2011

My community work is with women who have come through hell with addiction and alcoholism. (Have you heard the saying they use, “Religious people are afraid of hell, spiritual people have been there.”?)

Also, I am a Hospice Companion with a focus on grief recovery. I have facilitated grief recovery sessions, but find I do most of that work on a one-to-one basis.

I love what your library service includes. We are in the throes of upgrading our building so I’m hoping we can expand our offerings in such a fashion.

Last, I have my eye on volunteering at our Arts Center. We have incredible performances that we somehow attract within our budget. Great cultural contributions.

Yes volunteerism! Where would we be without it – at both ends: giving and receiving.

nrhatch - January 31, 2011

I have heard that quote. Wonderful contributions to your community, Amy.

I plan to do more volunteering with the arts ~ music, drama, etc. We have some wonderful theatre companies around here.

Maybe it’s time for me to get back on stage? 🙂

6. Booksphotographsandartwork - January 31, 2011

Many years ago when my son attended public school I tutored another young boy who was in his class.

When my daughter was in a homeschool co-op I taught two classes instead of one. That was a little crazy for scatter-brained newbie but they were things that I was interested in. I guess that counts as volunteering. You had to teach or help in at least one.

I would love love love to volunteer with the animal shelter but my weak emotions and huge allergies prevent that from happening. The last time I went in ours (and it’s a good one) I broke down into uncontrollable tears seeing the faces of all of those scared sad little animals.

I haven’t quite found my spot for this time of life yet.

nrhatch - January 31, 2011

Mentoring definitely counts as volunteering.

Maybe you could help the shelter with some fundraising efforts, or by finding adoptive families for them?

Like you, I love animals, but unless it was a no-kill shelter, it would be too hard for me to volunteer knowing that some of my new pals only had days live.

7. Brown Eyed Mystic - January 31, 2011

You are one fine soul, Nancy. I love your spirit and can never be inspired too much from you. But you already knew that, didn’t you? 😉

As much as I appreciate your and others’ such genuine gestures, I must add a caveat: To the younger generation (think people starting out their careers, people below 30, I am counting myself in too), sometimes volunteering can be a mere way to “build contacts” and gain exposure. It hurts, and I will be brutally honest that I did this once in the past. I volunteered for an event but I had some hidden personal agendas. I severely needed to “get started” somehow. That doesn’t mean I didn’t want to contribute, in fact I totally had a blast doing it and gave my best. But I think a pinch of selfish ingredient makes it a wee bit adulterated. Or does it?

It’s people like you who I admire. You have already built a fine career and care for several causes. Perhaps the wisdom comes with experience.


nrhatch - January 31, 2011

Thanks, Brown Eyed. How sweet. 🙂

I don’t see having a “selfish” ulterior motive as a problem . . . as long as you do your best to contribute your all while volunteering.

Of course, if you’re just standing on the side-lines smoozing and hob-nobbing . . . that’s another kettle of fish entirely. 🙂

We do gain “wisdom” over the years ~ it’s the best part of getting older.

8. Brown Eyed Mystic - January 31, 2011

P.S. BTW, I LOVE the local library. Bookstores are another breath-taker. So guess we at least have that in common. 🙂

nrhatch - January 31, 2011

I’m excited about getting to unpack box after box of donated books for the book sale ~ I’ve enjoyed my life long love affair with words.

9. Booksphotographsandartwork - February 1, 2011

We do gain “wisdom” over the years ~ it’s the best part of getting older.

It’s the ONLY good thing about getting older!

nrhatch - February 1, 2011

When I look back on what I knew in my 20’s and compare it with what I know today . . . I see how far I’ve come.

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