I love volunteering. I have made amazing friendships and learned so much by volunteering. I volunteer in my community, I have volunteered to coach on occasion, and I volunteer in my church. I do it because it makes me feel good about helping others and bringing events to our small corner of the world. My personality has been made and molded to help others.
While volunteering, I have learned how to best set up a serving line that maximizes efficiency. I have learned how amazing and funny the kids in our community are. I have learned planning and organizing skills that have continued to get better (I think). I have also learned the subtle art of give and take when working with a group of people.
My journey of volunteering hasn’t been easy in a small community.
I have been stressed and irritated at someone or something that just didn’t go the way I wanted it to or thought it would go. But along the way, I have gained such respect from other people in my community that I just wouldn’t have had if I didn’t volunteer where I do.
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However, I have noticed in my small community that most of the volunteers I work with are older than I am. Now, I am not young, but I’m not old either—I’ll leave it to your imagination how old I am, but let’s just say I am comfortably in the middle. I have also noticed there are not many volunteers younger than me. And this is not something that is isolated to our community.
I have talked to people in other communities and even cities much larger than where I live and they say the same thing . . .
Most volunteers are getting older, and they do not see many younger people coming to volunteer.
This is not to dismiss younger people at all, I know young people who are very kind and compassionate and who want to help but may be unsure of where to start or how to start volunteering.
If you happen to be one of those people who want to volunteer but are afraid for one reason or another, I would like to reassure you there is nothing to worry about. Everyone I have volunteered with would love to come alongside you, guide you, and teach you.
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You will make mistakes while volunteering, but that is okay—a mistake while volunteering is part of the learning process. The most important thing is you are there and helping. I have made so many mistakes while volunteering that I was sure someone would fire me. You are trying to do your part to better the community.
Helping your community on your worst day is better than not helping on your best day.
If you are not currently volunteering in your community please look around. Is there some way you can share some of the work and stress load for the people who are volunteering in your community? Or you can visit volunteer.gov to learn more about ways you can serve your community.
We are not asking for someone to walk in and be the leader of an event, we just want more people. Some more bodies to carry the load and brains to help bring more ideas. Volunteers carry the load and love what they do, but the weight of it is getting heavy. Can you spare some time to reach in and help carry the load?
Originally published on the author’s blog