Friday, August 21, 2009

Just Do One Thing

It’s probably part of being profoundly patriotic that volunteering for causes is just part of my life. It’s probably part of being passionate about parenting the next generation that volunteering in the community is so very important. But the biggest part about volunteering is that it does matter, everything matters, it all matters.

As a parent with teenagers, I find that volunteering is a wonderful way to focus that abundance of energy in constructive ways. Constructively busy teens are happy teens. It’s good for youth to learn about a situation, see how the world is, contribute in some way to make it better and imagine a world without such difficulties.

When my kids were little, our goal was to make one contribution to the community per month. We started small with drawing pictures for the sick and the elderly, and picking up trash (with gloves) at the park. As they have grown the projects have gotten bigger and I’m so pleased when they find new and wonderful ways to contribute to the community in which they live.

Sometimes, you might volunteer at something that you find you just don’t like to do, I’m thinking about poop patrol, it’s just not my bag. I’d rather collect dog & cat food for the shelter. It’s the same cause, that is near and dear to my heart (our dogs are previous pound-puppies) and I serve in a way that works for me and works for the shelter.

There are so many ways to volunteer and so many causes that really do need help it can be overwhelming. Sometimes the coordinators want a commitment to help all the time. Just do what you can. If you find you like it, you’ll be back.
Here are a few things that you might consider giving a try: making valentines to send to the VA hospital, walking shelter dogs, giving toiletries to the women’s shelter, collecting dog & cat food, setting up a community Christmas tree, sending cards to chronically ill children, recycling cans, picking up trash along the highway, collecting rice for the hungry, donating to war victim recovery, calling politicians and telling them how we feel about the environment, planting trees, singing at the convalescent home, books for kids, writing letters to soldiers, making crafts to raise money, speaking at groups about animal cruelty, telling friends about good things happening in the community, recycling newspaper, helping to set up for educational events, magazines to veterans, being on advisory boards, making prayer shawls, dictionaries for children, sewing blankets for premature babies, sewing bags for kids at the homeless shelter, collecting pop tops for Ronald Mc Donald House, working at the recycling center, school supplies for needy kids, teaching tobacco cessation, planting flowers, shopping for an invalid, delivering food to needy families, backpacks of food for needy children over the weekend, giving blankets to the homeless shelter, giving unneeded things to charities that help families in economic stress, collect horse feed & medicines for the horse rescue, cleaning at the animals shelter, and the list goes on of needed help in the community.

Remember you don’t have to do everything, just do something, just do one thing, because every one thing really does matter.

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