Volunteering

As long as I can remember, I have always volunteered in some capacity. As a kid, I visited seniors in a local seniors care facility. As a teenager, I coached little kid soccer. As a university student, I tutored elementary school children and volunteered on my university students association. As an adult, I’ve volunteered at many meal services for the less fortunate, I’ve coached little kid soccer and I’ve spent a day with elementary students who were learning about my chosen profession. I’ve also volunteered countless hours in many different capacities within professional organizations.

But, a few years ago I basically stopped all my volunteer activities. In fact, I did this right around the time Little MPB was born. It was a very conscious decision to limit my time away from my son. In the case of community volunteer roles I simply stopped planning new ones. In the case of professional volunteer roles, effective a few weeks before Little MPB was born, I rolled back my involvement and officially resigned from a professional board when my term was up a few months later – all those on the board knew why I was resigning and everyone was very supportive.

This means the last 2 years is the first time in my life that I have not been involved in some sort of volunteer role or two or three.

Honestly, I’ve been feeling the itch to get back involved. I’ve been missing being involved in my community and offering a small helping hand to those who need it or to enable a professional organization to make a difference.

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So, I’ve been keeping an eye open for a new volunteer role. And eventually one was suggested to me. Initially, i just said no without any additional thought. But, then a few months later, it was brought up again. So the second time I took a few months to make an informed decision by investigating the organization and evaluating the time commitment.

Of course, I said yes and effectively agreed to do one more thing with my very limited spare time.

But, there’s a huge caveat with this volunteer role – it is very limited. I may volunteer for 3 hours one month, and none the next. I completely choose my own schedule and can turn down anything that doesn’t fit my schedule. And, there is no long term commitment, I can quit at any time that I choose without causing significant problems for the organization as the organization is built using volunteers like me, who only want to give up little snippets of their time.

And so, more then anything, I hope this role allows me to give back to my community in a meaningful way. My heart and soul could use some warm fuzzies.

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9 Comments on “Volunteering

  1. Former youth soccer volunteer coach here too, haha! I have been missing volunteer opportunities lately as well, also because I find it hard to pass on time with my kids. I found out that our local diaper bank does a volunteer day once a month where the volunteers can bring along their kiddos to play while the moms work. Very cool!

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  2. I was like you…then I had kids. One thing I can tell you, when your LO goes to school there will be a lot of volunteer opportunities. Now only will you be able to spend time with your child, you will also be able to connect and interact with other kids and parents. It a whole new world on volunteering and one I think you will enjoy.

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  3. Totally agree with this. When I pursued being a volunteer member of a Board for a non-profit start up in my town, everyone thought I was crazy for taking that on board, plus working, plus raising my son. We, as mothers, commit so much of our lives to our children, husbands and home, and that feels great, but certain types of people, like you and me, feel more fulfilled when doing volunteer work. And if it’s just a few hours a month, then why not? A lot of people talk about wanting to volunteer but say their lives are too busy or they can’t afford to take time away from work or their families to do it. So there are always desperate requests from people who are in dire need of volunteers. Volunteers make communities run. Volunteers help non-profit businesses feed the stomachs of people who are struggling in their own lives. What is only a few hours to us, means survival for others. And that’s the way I like to think about why I commit to my volunteer role and how I explain it to people when they question why I would take it on board.

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  4. Gosh, my kids are in competitive sports so there is ample opportunity to volunteer. Some of it takes many hours every week….

    I’m sure you’ll find the perfect thing.

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  5. I used to volunteer in high school and college and it was really rewarding. This has made me examine why I do not do this anymore. Thank you for the motivation and opportunity to re-examine this part of my life!

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    • I think it’s easy not to volunteer (or at least it is easy for me not to volunteer). Really, as an adult my time is much more limited and therefore I place a higher value on my free time then I used to, which means volunteering isn’t a high priority right now. I suspect your in a similar situation, in fact, I suspect most adults are.

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  6. What variety of organization is it? Everything I have found wants absolute commitment and less “vacation time” than a full-time job, no not showing due to illness either. They even say if you cannot show you MUST find OWN substitute! Not asking for a name as that might be too identifying….. thanks.

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  7. This is great! Volunteering does amazing things and you’re setting a good example for little MPB.

    I have been the same way. Just in the last year we have started to get back into it. One of the simplest things I have found was a food delivery program for local residents. I fill up a bag of food and someone comes to get it each month. Luke helps and we talk about what we are doing. I hope as he and Olivia gets older we can include them and be involved in even more efforts.

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