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Be a Hero, Be a Volunteerfrom: Maxx Seniors Life
A hero is a champion; a guardian and protector; a person who is highly regarded by others because of his selfless actions. Become a volunteer and you will be a hero. Another characteristic of a hero is modesty, a common hallmark among volunteers.
Though few may witness your heroic side, your own heart will beat stronger and you will know a quiet satisfaction. By volunteering you gain confidence in your own abilities while inspiring those whose lives you touch.
"Why me," you may well ask, "why should I become a volunteer?"
Increasingly, volunteers are in demand due to chronic under-funding of programs. The deficit has to be made up with donated goods and volunteer labor.
Public programs such as libraries, children's clubs, seniors organizations -- even schools -- are becoming squeezed ever more between increasing demands from a growing population and decreased funding from all levels of government.
Private initiatives such as food banks, soup kitchens and similar programs to help our less fortunate citizens seem to be invisible to our public officials.
The official attitude seems to be to ignore the problems and hope they will go away. More and more the burden of help is being shifted onto the shoulders of those private citizens who care: the volunteers.
"Where will I ever find the time to volunteer? My life is so frantic as it is!"
Sure, there are only 24 hours in any given day. Yet that does add up to 168 hours each week, averaging out to 730 hours in a month. By the end of one year you will have lived some 8760 hours. Doesn't it seem reasonable, then, that anyone should be able to find even a few hours during a whole year to volunteer for at least one worthy cause?
You become a volunteer when you set aside a specific amount of time to help others. It could be helping an individual, a group, the community at large, or any number of projects that you would be able to help with.
The time you can give, and when you can give it is whatever you decide. But you do need to schedule some specific amount of time and then live up to it. Those are the basics of volunteering.
"What about my family?" you think. "We never have enough time together as it is."
Then why not make volunteering a family event? Since the decline of the family farm and the disappearance of the family-run store, there are fewer opportunities for families to work together. Volunteering together can be a fun way to strengthen the family unit.
For instance, at Christmas time newspapers run stories about families who spend Christmas day serving free dinners at their local senior center or soup kitchen. The articles often quote the children as saying that it just wouldn't be Christmas without spending part of their day helping others.
If you are a single parent, you might like to bring your child along next time you canvass the block for your favorite charity!
Singles, perhaps especially singles, can improve their own social lives by volunteering.
So get out [of your rut] and get a [volunteer] job, as the old advice goes.
"Where can I volunteer," you ask? Now you're talking!
Meals on Wheels: do you have an hour or so free around noon, even if it's only one day a week? Delivering hot meals to shut-ins is a fabulous way to volunteer. Nobody will ever appreciate your visit more!
The Meals on Wheels person is often the only one many of the clients see all through their lonely day. The smiles you get will light up the rest of your day.
Senior Centers: are usually open during working hours, so most of their volunteer positions are best suited to other retired folks, who also make many dear friends at their centers.
However, if you have some special professional knowledge about issues important for seniors (medical, nutritional, health, finances) they will gladly book presentations or consultations to fit your schedule.
Food Banks: always need help stocking shelves, filling orders, even assessing clients' needs. Good opportunities abound for using your organizational and people skills here.
Soup Kitchens: use drivers to pick up donated food from stores and restaurants, cooks to prepare the lunches, and servers to dish it up. Whenever you can arrange it, bring your teens along to help out; they will absorb lessons that no amount of lecturing from parents will ever accomplish. They may even surprise you by thanking you for including them in the experience.
Public Libraries: especially smaller ones, welcome volunteers for children's activities and reading programs. Re-shelving books is a pleasant way to spend a few hours, and you always leave with some newly discovered book.
Churches welcome volunteers on committees, for kitchen help at socials, to do small repairs and upkeep to the building and grounds, and for help with their traditional music, choir and youth activities. Get to know your neighbors here.
These are but a very few of the hundreds of deserving service organizations where you might want to volunteer. Think also of scouting, boys and girls clubs, amateur sports ... the list goes on and on.
So give it a try. The point is to find something that really interests you so you will stick with it. Volunteering at something you enjoy is its own reward.
"OK, just what can I get out of volunteering?" Excellent question!
For singles, here is a way to meet others and become involved in pleasant activities. You could live on your own for years and never get to know as much about your town as you pick up in a short period of volunteering. You make friends with people you would never meet otherwise.
Volunteer as a regular family activity, doing something not centered on yourselves. This is a perfect way to teach your children citizenship, which is really just a sense of community.
So be a hero, become a volunteer! Be a real-life hero and a steady inspiration to your family and friends. Be a welcome hero and champion to those who benefit from your volunteer work. Be a hero to yourself, too. Be secure in the knowledge that as a volunteer, you are making a difference.
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