Monday, November 24, 2008

Holiday Volunteer Time

The holiday season is upon us, and I need to start thinking about volunteering somewhere. I've always believed that it is my responsibility to give- no- to lend a hand to members of the underserved community. However, I'm somewhat ashamed to say that I haven't played that part in a year.

It's always easy to tell yourself that you're going to do something- volunteer at a soup kitchen, or a battered women's shelter, but for me, it's a lot harder to put these ideas in motion. I got complacent. For the most part, I've always been involved in some sort of community work, throughout high school, college, and post-college. This is the first year that I haven't done anything to benefit the community I live in.

I used to work in a community oriented position for a not for profit children's health insurance company in Connecticut. I was responsible for creating a liason between our company, and those who didn't have the resources to get the best possible health care for their children. I went to numerous health fairs, taught nutrition classes, and reached out to people aged 0-87. I volunteered at soup kitchens on Thanksgiving, and wrapped presents for churches at Christmas.

You know what? It was stressful, but it was the most rewarding job that I had. I once thought that doing these deeds would make me realize my value and self-worth as a person, but volunteering is so much more than that. How selfish of me to think that helping others would be a way for me to prop myself up, and and to deem me worthy in the eyes of others.

That's not what donating your time is about. You donate your time so that you can help others recognize their own potential and self worth.

And that's why I need to find somewhere to volunteer in the coming weeks.

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