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Volunteers make a meaningful, positive impact on the lives they touch. But have you ever thought about how being a volunteer can impact your life?
We often forget that we are not islands. Just like a business must work together as a team to be successful, so must we, as a community, work together to make our lives easier and more enjoyable.
Fundamentally, volunteering is about giving your time, energy and skills freely. Unlike many things in life, you have the choice to volunteer and sometimes people choose not to do so because they feel one person cannot make a difference. Okay, I agree, one person cannot solve the world’s problems, but they can make a significant difference in the life of a person, animal or community.
Helping others is extremely gratifying and humbling. Helping someone in a dire situation helps you appreciate all that you have. You are faced with the reality that we cannot get through life alone, as an island. We need each other and there is comfort in knowing there are people around us who want to help. Sometimes these are friends and family, sometimes they are complete strangers.
As Tennessee Williams said, “I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.” And, from time to time we ALL must depend on the kindness of strangers. Even small efforts can change your way of thinking. I know when I have helped an elderly person with their groceries, I have walked away feeling good about myself. Volunteering has that impact on your life.
Volunteering is also contagious. When your friends, family and co-workers see the satisfaction you get from being a volunteer, they want to be a part of it. Suddenly, you are not one person making a difference, but five. See how one person can make an impact?
Another benefit of volunteering is that it brings together a diverse group of people. It’s an opportunity to learn, grow and expand your circle of friends. Volunteering is also a fantastic way for people new to the area to meet people and become better acquainted with the community.
At the beginning I mentioned that a business needs to work as a team to be successful, but as members of the business community we must support each other as well. Volunteering offers excellent networking opportunities. If you are not a natural networker, volunteering helps you in a less intimidating environment to hone those skills; it opens a lot of doors.
So, please start getting involved and encouraging your friends, family and staff members to volunteer, it will do wonders for your community and for you!!