How do you help others, besides those in your family?
This was the topic of discussion tonight. We were all sharing how we volunteer and what we like to do. It was interesting to hear everyone’s different stories, because how they chose to volunteer told us a lot about the person and their interests. Listening to the stories made me curious and helped me to know more about my friends. It also helped us to find connections between interests, that we may not have know about each other.
One friend likes to quilt and she volunteers for Quilt For Kids, making quilts for sick kids in hospitals. She used to love making quilts for her family, but after awhile, you don’t need any more quilts. She found a way to continue her hobby and to share her generosity and talents with strangers. She brought a sample of her quilts and told us that they donated 800 quilts last year. I shared a connection with her as Charlie was a recipient of a handmade quilt when he was sick in the hospital when he was born. The beautiful, colorful quilt was in his bed when we came to see him. I thought it was a mistake, that it belonged to someone else, until the nurses told me the story of the volunteers who make them for sick kids, so that their hospital stay might be a little bit brighter and more cheerful. We still have this quilt, and I used to think of the women who made it as a gift of love. It made his hospital stay feel less sterile and I was so thankful. Cool connection, huh?
Another friend shared how she volunteered with the Humane Society to help families become foster kitten parents. She loved cats and wanted to help them.
One woman shared how her mom forced her to volunteer when she was in the 8th grade, and that she didn’t want to do it at all. But by volunteering, she found her vocation and passion. She chose this field as her profession, even getting a scholarship to her chosen college, aided through her volunteer connections.
What I learned from listening to all the stories, is that by volunteering we are helping others, but we are also able to help ourselves. We create communities of interests with other like minded friends while giving of our time. We share conversation and create friendships by working side by side towards a common goal. We find connections through service and we create communities, whether it be around our passion for animals, kids, movies, antiques, singing, helping in schools, coaching, helping with sporting events, health services, mentoring youth, or whatever brings you joy.
Do what you love. Love what you do. It’s good for all of us!
Life is good.