Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Volunteers Needed!

Hi and thanks for stopping by. Today's post is about a very important topic: Volunteering. I will be sharing what volunteering means to me and ways to get me and my kids more involved.

For a while I've been in a rut with my writing and in my social media efforts. Not a complete block, but certainly a hurdle. Recently I've taken some time to step back and try to figure out what's going on. Why am I having such a hard time sitting down to write? Why am I having a hard time connecting on line? What I find is that I do a lot of thinking about me, tweeting about me, my dog, my family, my ups and downs. I spend too much time thinking things like, What should I tweet about today? What should I talk about on my blog? What can I write that will open more publishing doors? I know that to get myself out of this rut I've got to stop focusing so much inward and look outward for a while. What better way to do that than to volunteer?

Volunteering has always been a part of my life. I've often given my grandmother credit for instilling many of my morals and values but it was my mother who made me see the importance of volunteering. As a single mom of four, on and off welfare, and working constantly she had all of the reasons in the world not to think of others, to be bitter about the cruelties and unfairness that life can dole out. But she wasn't, she took life as it hit her and always reminded us that no matter how bad it was for us there were people who had less, who suffered more. This mind set is one of the best gifts she has given me. It taught me to be thankful and to believe that everyone has the power to help someone else. Even if you have no money or vital service to offer, you have time.

I have tried to pass this gift to my children as well. Every year, on the weekend nearest to Halloween I would dress the kids up and we would spend an evening stationed at a doorway giving candy to children who lived in a shelter. On Easter weekend we went back with candy filled eggs to hide in the center's courtyard. Both events added up to less than 2 hours of time and the price of a few jumbo bags of candy, but the smiles on those kids' faces and the gratitude extended was priceless. My kids would leave feeling good about helping others and a better perspective about life. Of course, it would wear off over time and I would think of something else to do. After winning a good amount of money at Bingo (yes, Bingo) I called our local food shelf and asked what they needed most for food donations. I grabbed my kids and the list and went to Sam's Club. The food we delivered was probably gone in a week but the memory of it lives in my kids. My oldest was just talking about it the other day. He also reminded me of the time I made him volunteer with me at our local community college. We helped transform a vacant courtyard into a beautiful playground for the children of students and staff of the college.

Lately I have slacked. Life got crazy, my kids had a million things going on, I had a whole new world of publishing to figure out, and a new 4 legged family member to keep up with. The reasons (excuses) are endless, but the the result is finding myself in a rut of thinking only of me and what personally affects me, my family and friends. I need a refresher in volunteerism and it certainly won't hurt my kids to come along.

My plan:

I'm going to revisit past efforts. Decide which ones work for us now and which do not. Just like everything else in life, volunteering evolves as our circumstances change.

Let the kids have more say in what we do. My older boys were game for anything I came up with, but my younger children are more immersed in technology. It's going to be harder to get them excited about unplugging and getting out in the world.

My goal:

Take time each month to volunteer at a different place or cause.

Teach my kids that they can make a difference in some one's life or help a worthy cause make big differences in many lives. Also to expand their perception of the world.

Remind us all to be thankful for what we have and that we always have something worth giving.

My personal goal:

Push my own limits and volunteer in areas outside of my usual comfort zone.

Record my experiences here on my blog as a journal for me and my kids to look back on. I also hope this venture into volunteering inspires more people to get out there and give a little.

There are so many people, groups, organizations, and institutions that would benefit greatly from volunteers and so many ways to help. I am looking forward to seeing where this adventure will take me. I hope that you stop by again to find out.


Kristin : )

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