Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Finding Time to Volunteer

I have renewed my commitment to contribute my time to worthy causes. The new presidential administration has ushered all of us into a new era of hope and optimism, tempered with sobering realities. Yes, the recession is in full swing, and things will probably get worse before they get better, but I still want to volunteer. But when will I find the time to do so?

While I have done some work for The Women’s Mosaic since January 2008, I have always envisioned myself working for different non-profit organizations. Last autumn, I was looking forward to working with the American Red Cross in Greater New York and the All Stars Project, Inc., which are both located in Manhattan. I was unemployed at the time and ready to start volunteering. I attended information sessions and orientation meetings and underwent an extensive background check, so I was all set... until I got two paying jobs at the same time. I mistakenly thought I could volunteer at both organizations every week, in addition to my paid employment, but that didn’t happen.

My time is extremely limited, especially since I am working long hours during the week and some weekends. I still hope to volunteer at both places on a periodic basis, but it is all about time management and saying “no” when I feel overwhelmed and over-worked. I am anxious to start volunteering sooner rather than later, because it is like nourishment for my soul. Running from one job to another makes me feel like a mouse running inside a wheel: I’m going nowhere fast. Volunteering will allow me to break out of that wheel, so I can participate in meaningful work to help others.

Volunteering is not merely a resume booster for me. Spending a few hours at a soup kitchen, collecting food donations, and other supplies for communities in need are activities that mean more to me than sitting behind a desk and performing repetitive, mundane duties for a paycheck.

Do you volunteer, or do you have plans to do so?


Anonymous said...

Volunteering is food for the soul - having a servant's heart gives so much in return, to you and those that you are helping.

Even when you don't think you can make time to volunteer, you always can by investing your time on worthy causes.

For instance, I volunteer for Stop Child Trafficking Now, an organization that funds a special operatives team trained to track, build cases against, and bring to justice the predators victimizing children worldwide. They ask each of their volunteers to spread awareness on modern-day slavery and fundraise money for their nation-wide walk-a-thon in September.

I have met so many people who are offering up their talents, using their resources, and spreading awareness, helping SCTNow's goal to end child exploitation.

Look no further and volunteer here: you will be saving a child.

Anonymous said...

I volunteer with the Lilith Fund, a Texas nonprofit that provides low-income women with financial assistance for abortions. It's exhausting work, although I love it. I cut down my shifts from one a week to one every other week, because your shift does not end when you put down the phone. These women usually need a lot of follow-up help as well. This follow-up time was cutting into my day job. But I love it, even though it's exhausting and emotionally trying.

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