Volunteering happens in so many different ways. You can raise your hand at work to lead planning an event or activity for your team or go into your child’s school to help out in the classroom one day.
Community service is something near and dear to my heart. I grew up knowing that if it wasn’t for volunteers, my parents would not have been able to get a good start on their new lives here in the States. Without volunteers, my parents would have never met and gotten married. Without volunteers, my parents would not have made the journey from Virginia to Minnesota to start a new life for themselves and their own little family.
My dad is the epitome of a volunteer. He gives his time and dollars to help others in need. He humbly reminds us that we are so blessed to have what we have because of those who helped him during his first years in America. He taught us to give back where we could because it would be a way to repay the help we received. Help that ensured we were safe and lived happy and healthy lives.
Volunteering has always been important to me. I started by going out to different schools to tutor and watch kids as part of our community service efforts in high school. I was able to take a mission trip with classmates to Guatemala after our senior high school graduation to build a home for a family in need.
Now all grown up, volunteering is still a big part of my life. I try to show my kids the importance of helping others in need. It can be an hour and a soup kitchen or just helping a friend or neighbor move. Providing our time is what is important when someone needs our help.
Sometimes it feels like we don’t have enough hours in the day. How are we supposed to find the time to volunteer on top of it all?
Just a little time is all we need. You can donate as little as thirty minutes of your time or a full day of volunteer activities. There are so many options out there for us. Our communities have a lot more need than we realize.
Here are just a few ways I’ve been able to manage and find volunteer opportunities that fit into my life:
- Checking in with your kids’ schools is a great option to find ways to volunteer your time. Check in with the volunteer coordinator, your teachers, or look out for notices from school with opportunities
- Check in at work for community service opportunities they may share or coordinate at or outside of work. There are many companies that offer an opportunity to take paid time off for volunteer events during work hours. Inquire to see if they want you to record your volunteer hours as part of a giving program. For example, every year I record at least 30 hours of volunteering and I receive a $500 donation to any charity I choose
- Ask friends, family, and neighbors about their favorite spots to support through volunteering or donations
- Check out websites like VolunteerMatch to find postings of opportunities at different non-profit organizations in the Twin Cities. There are in person and virtual opportunities that you can find to participate in
- If there isn’t time for you to volunteer, donate to the causes and organizations you believe in and want to support. Time is a great gift to give but a donation is a form of volunteering as well.
- Check out TCMB’s Give to The Max Day 2018 Guide to find organizations that work directly with women, children, and families locally.
Volunteering can be accomplished in so many ways. Donating our time to those who need our help is a form of giving back. And I think it sets a great example for our little ones. I only hope that my boys seeing what we do to help our community will instill in them the importance of being thankful for what we have. I hope they will give back to others in need as they get older and see the needs that others around them may have.