Why should I volunteer?
So this is a little of the usual topic of my blog. But, I am compelled to write this because of a meeting a was in this week. We were trying to find ways to encourage the nomination of nurses that we work with for the Great 100 in Nursing Excellence Award. Once of the items that the award focuses on, in addition to leadership and participation in the workplace, is Volunteerism and activism outside of the workplace. They encourage nurses to be active in the community and give of their time and talents to help their community. Along with that discussion, came the question, "Well, where do we find volunteer opportunities?' I thought it would be a great post to just help identify ways to volunteer and give back to the community.
This post isn't just for nurses! Even though a lot of my references may come from nursing! (Helloooo,,,,,that is what I am and what I do, lol). It is for anyone wondering where to start volunteering. Many of us feel a need to help others, or share our talents and and blessings with others to better our community. It doesn't have to cost you anything but time and effort! It is a great feeling to know that you in someway made a difference in someone's life. A smile, a hug, a helping hand, or a word of encouragement can go along way! Knowing that you showed up to help can be a bright spot in someone's day!
Where Should I volunteer?
You may be wondering, "Where can I volunteer?" Think of your interests. Love sports? Volunteer with the local little league as a coach. Love photography? Volunteer at the local senior center teaching a basic digital photography class. Love landscaping? Volunteer with your church to reach out to disabled and elderly to help do their lawns. It doesn't matter what you like doing. cultivate a way to share it!
First places to start may seem a little obvious. Hospitals, Churches, Senior Centers, Homeless shelters, and soup kitchens. Hospitals use volunteers ALL THE TIME! They sit at information desks, take magazines around to patients, escort visitors to the right floors, run errands on units and all kinds of things. If you like a medical environment, this may be the place for you! Most hospitals have a volunteer services department that can welcome you in! Same goes for senior centers, homeless shelters and soup kitchens. Just call them! They will more than likely jump at the chance to put you to work!
I personally found a great opportunity at the Enrichment Center, in Downtown Winston Salem, it is a school for mentally challenged adults. They teach them life skills, health classes, art, history, photography, music, etc. It is a United Way affiliated organization. It was a fabulous opportunity. In the interest of full disclosure, I had to do it for a school project while completing my BS degree. But it was a fabulous experience and I plan to continue!
You can volunteer in the school systems. Ask about opportunities with your local Parks and Recreation, Adult Day care centers, Assisted Living Facilities would love to have help playing games, reading to residents, etc. Is environmental kinds of things more your cup o' tea? Adopt a road (that may just be a NC program, I don't know), Volunteer with group planting trees. Find a group cleaning streams. Do you have an "I heart Dogs" bumper sticker? The local animal shelter would probably love you to help. If they can't use you, You could most definitely plan a fundraiser to help them purchase papertowels, dog-food, treats, and vaccinations!
I found a Non-profit organization in NC, (there are probably similar ones in your area) called Pretty in Pink Foundation. They help uninsured and under-insured breast cancer patients in NC with financial assistance. I planned a vendor fair and shopping event at the park, with vendor fees and donations, as well as raffle money going to the organization. We raised almost 700.00! Now that was a several month process and took A LOT of hours to plan, so I am not advising you to jump feet first into that, but there are other ways to help! Most non profits have websites and will have an area where the list help that they need. Find something that you can do and go for it!
How to volunteer. Steps to figuring out how to volunteer
Step one. Call them! Check their website! Tell them you want to help them. Chances are, they are waiting on your call or waiting for you to sign up online!
Step two. Set aside time. One hour, two hours, Whatever you have!
Step there. Have fun! You will meet so many new people and experience different things! Enjoy it!
Step four. Step outside of the box. I had never really worked with mentally challenged adults before. It really opened up a whole new world to me. I was even able to use the experience on the job. Because I had experience, I was able to communicate with and help a mentally challenged patient who was scared and unsure of the environment he was in. My coworkers even noticed how I was able to relate to him and complemented me and the care I was able to give him. I wouldn't have been able to do that well, had I not stepped outside my little box and volunteered!
My point is, there IS opportunity to volunteer if you want to. It isn't hard to find, and you can create your own opportunities! Give of yourself and you will be amazed how much you get in return!
Links to sign up to volunteer in Winston Salem area
Where do you volunteer? What ideas do you have for finding volunteer opportunities? Let me know in the comments!
Wife, daughter, aunt, nurse, biker chic, aspiring photographer, pretend gourmet chef. That's me! I'm living the Just Peachy Life. This Blog will now be more dedicated to photography and the art form that speaks to me the most. I am moving the lifestyle and home-life posts to the Living the Just Peachy Life Blog to separate the two! Read more about me and _Living the Just Peachy Life!
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