We often hear people saying, “I want to make a difference in the world.” How do you feel about that? Is that something that drives you? My feeling is “making a difference” starts in our own communities, so how are you impacting the lives of individuals in your own community right now?
When you make time to contribute – in small or big ways – it leaves an enduring impression on you, your heart and the lives of everyone you touch.
I know this from experience and I can guess that many – if not all of you – have given your time in some form, but I want to make sure you are firmly aware of the positive impact you truly have when you volunteer in your community.
The power of giving has many benefits, and I’d like to share a few with you right now.
HELPING IS HEALING
First, and foremost, volunteering your time means helping others. Giving something of yourself to someone else who needs a part of you that you are freely willing to give. And when we help someone, how does that make us feel? Knowing we have truly been there for someone when they needed us?
That brings me back to my very first volunteer experience. It was at The Brain Injury Society here in Edmonton. It was called N.A.B.I.S. – a recreational centre for clients with brain injuries who either had no place to be during the day, or had no one to take care of them or spend time with them.
I chose that organization because someone close to me had a brain injury and I felt extremely passionate about learning more and being part of something bigger than me and my daily life.
I had no idea what my volunteer duties would be when I applied. It turned out I was to be a support friend to talk to the clients, play cards, games and also help them with their meals and daily activities while I was there.
My heart grew bigger every time I went as I knew that the time I spent with every individual, might have been the only time they spent with someone that day or even all week. Knowing I made that big a difference in someone’s world was a feeling I still can’t really describe.
OPPORTUNITIES ARE CREATED
Have you considered how volunteering your time benefits your professional life? Have you ever thought you might change careers, but were not sure of the path? Volunteering in your desired field would give you the opportunity to experience it, while lending valuable skills and even enhancing them.
It may also open the door to a dream job and present you with the opportunity to network with contacts you may not otherwise have been introduced to.
Being a volunteer speaker with United Way for over 5 years has not only impacted my community, it has helped me build my career as an Motivational Diversity Speaker. I have met so many amazing people while I am out there doing what I love and helping our community. And it’s still humbling to me to think of the people that went out of their way to help me along my career path.
LEAD WITH LOVE
Be that role model for others. Show your children that volunteering can be fun, fulfilling and that they too can make a difference in someone’s life. It also builds confidence.
When your children do something good, it makes them feel good, boosting their self esteem. It also helps them to build on their social skills as they are interacting with people in the community, building and strengthening friendships and relationships.
And hey, it stands to reason that when we show that giving our time can be fun, our kids can’t help but be impacted by our ripple effect.
Volunteering your time can be as little as one hour to several hours per week. The opportunities are endless, but here are a few to consider:
- serve meals at a local shelter
- church or hospital
- babysit for a friend
- help a neighbour in the yard
- reach out to your favourite charity or a non-profit organization that you are passionate about
Just remember, there are a variety of positions to fill, from the social interactive ones where you may be with people the whole time, or behind the scenes where organizations may need paperwork or phone work done, and the budget does not allow a paying position.
That one is for you introverts out there. 😉
Either way, there’s a place for you to make a difference in your community. And it’s a small price to pay to change someone’s life.
The benefits of giving your time are endless…helping others, benefiting professionally and being that role model are just for starters.
So, what are you doing today that contributes to the precious lives of people in your community? What can you do today – right now – to make a difference in someone’s life?
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Please share below how you contribute, and how the power of giving has impacted your life in some way.
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