RSWL: Volunteers

We’ve all done it.   We’ve all asked someone to do it with us…maybe even begged.  We all probably wish we could do it more.   I’m not sure what you’re thinking of, but I am referring to volunteering.

Volunteers are the backbone of organizations and events throughout society.   Who hasn’t signed up for a creek clean up day, soup kitchen, building project or more?  Sure, some people volunteer a few times a year, others volunteer like it’s their job.  And while I usually smirk at these do-gooders, the truth is that I wish I was more like them.  I’d love to volunteer about a gazillion percent more than I do, and I want my kids to grow up volunteering throughout their lives.

There is such a range of volunteering too, that there HAS to be some area we all fit into with our abilities and personalities.   Whether it is helping at a race event, vacuuming a church, tutoring kids, walking a dog, or fighting fires, volunteer opportunities abound.   I’ve seen firsthand the impact a couple dozen people and a few hours can make on the lives of people who are hurting.  Giving our time for something bigger than our needs gives hope.  For me, helping out at whatever occasion comes up is a good reality check and a reminder that life isn’t just about my needs, troubles and wants. Sometimes the circumstances are eye-opening, or life altering, like a mission trip or being part of relief efforts after a natural disaster.

I’ve also seen firsthand how easily volunteers can be abused.  All too often, the same group of volunteers can be called upon to virtually run an organization.  Not good.  And yet, these volunteers wouldn’t think twice when called upon to give and help.  Witnessing these people time again give with their hearts (without grumbling) is often another self check for me:  Should I do more?  Can I do more?  Does my attitude need adjusting?

Whatever the motivation, whatever the cause, whatever the reasons for helping, volunteers are just plain cool.  We don’t all have to believe the same thing or think the same way to have an enormous impact together.    Imagine a life without volunteers.  What would happen at our churches, libraries, volunteer fire departments, schools and parks if the volunteers didn’t show up??!!  I don’t think we want to know.

So, if you have ever volunteered, or if you are going to volunteer…thank you.  You. Are. A. Superstar. Seriously.

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