Why I volunteer- and you should too!

Have you ever helped others without expecting something in return?  I’ve been doing some sort of volunteer work for the past thirty years.  I’ve had some very different experiences doing this work, some better than others.  For the past 4 ½ years I’ve been visiting an elderly gentleman in his home.   Every Sunday afternoon I go and visit my friend.  While he’s only ten years older than me, he has many health issues that have greatly affected his life.  John had big plans for his retirement years. One of which was sailing his boat on Lake Michigan.  He had to sell his boat, and can hardly walk now.  His wife was a school teacher and John was a psychotherapist working with veterans with PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  He himself is a Vietnam veteran and suffers from PTSD as well.

We have many common interests, and share the same political views.  In the past he worked at the local main post office in human resources, but retired after a postal shooting.  Both of my parents are deceased, and I have grown quite fond of John and his wife.  When I come to visit his wife runs errands.  We have talked about so many things over the years.  He has even invited me and my family to come and visit at their summer home in New Mexico.

Just recently I started volunteering for a local organization that teaches financial literacy to high school students. It’s a six class program that runs over a three month period.  I was truly amazed how little high school juniors know about finances.  I’m an accountant and like to share my knowledge.  The kids really seemed to enjoy the classes, and so did I.  I think I may have missed my calling, as I love teaching.

I was cleaning my home office recently and came across my id for when I was a volunteer at the Veterans Administration in 1993.  This was not one of my better volunteering experiences. My goal was to cheer up our veterans. It devolved into me feeding patients and doing nursing assistant type of work.  That quickly ended.  I also volunteered for the Girl Scouts working at an activity center. This was ironic as I don’t have a daughter. The first few functions went well, but when the visiting troop leaders sat around and did nothing while I was busting my butt, that was time for me to go.

I volunteered for a Big Brothers/Big sister’s type of an organization when I lived in Chicago.  I was paired with a 14 year old girl who was getting into a lot of trouble at home and school.  That was a very rewarding experience.  Unfortunately the girl was sent to juvenile hall, and I never saw her again.

When I moved to Wisconsin I joined the local Jaycees.  I organized one event at our local zoo.  The weather that day was crappy, so we didn’t have a big turnout.  On the plus side I was able to donate the food to a local homeless shelter. I found out when you have an event like that, you can donate the leftover food to a shelter and they will pick it up.  I called several local TV stations to try and get the message out, but no one was interested, which was quite sad.  Think of how many catered events you attend where they have leftover food. What a shame.

My newest volunteer opportunity is being involved in a yearlong medical study for osteoporosis.  My mother suffered with the disease and shrunk four inches in a few years.  If I can help just one person from getting this awful disease, then I will have accomplished my goal.

volunteer 3-14-15Have you every volunteered?  If you have, please share your experiences below.

 

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8 thoughts on “Why I volunteer- and you should too!

  1. I was checking out the blog pitch party and decided to stop in here. I love people like you that go out and make a difference in their communities! I hope to be able to join you in this one day when I’m not spending my time trying to keep my own head above water.

  2. I volunteered at Red Cross blood drives. Back then the rules were much less strict, and they let untrained young me process blood and help keep folks happy while they gave blood. I volunteere for two years in a local hospital, again without any training. First year was in the ER; I’d hang out with angry patients & keep them out of trouble, get supplies, sometimes help give care. My first month a guy came in paralyzed on one side and big strong and agitated on the other side. I held down an arm. It went well enough that they moved me to the OR the next year and I helped tranport patients to surgery. Mostly they were being nice to me, letting me watch operations. I tried to teach a nice lady from Laos English (reading) one year, although I suspect she was just lonely. I’ve helped out in perhaps half a dozen random medical emergencies of some sort, held countless doors for people andI seem a magnet for folks who want directions somewhere. These days, I mostly just do way more than they pay me for at work. Maybe I should find a volunteer gig again!

  3. Currently I volunteer with an adult literacy program mainly teaching English as a second language. I have also volunteer with United Way and. Salvation Army but find less structured ways to help neighbors, friends and family when I can. Volunteering is good for the soul!

  4. I think it’s wonderful that you volunteer. Once every three months I volunteer my design services to help a less fortunate author get their book and their brand off to a colorful start. I have been so blessed by, and so welcomed by the indie author community, that I thought this was the least I could do to give back to them. Here is the link to sign up for the drawing that takes place every Jan 1st, April 1st, July 1st, and October 1st. https://mundusmediaink.com/12519-2/

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