Thursday, March 23, 2017

Volunteer Work: Top 5 Tips for Getting Involved

I heard someone say once that if you're bored, you're just in the 'me' state of mind, and need to step out and do something for someone else to take your mind off of it. I'm paraphrasing, but it was something like that... and hey, it works!! We volunteer often, and it's one of the most beneficial ways I know to teach kids how to work well in a team, help them to naturally foster their levels of compassion, and show them how to make a real difference that they can see. I am a huge proponent of getting involved and have compiled my list of top five tips to help others who might be thinking of volunteering too.

Manning his station to serve food at the local shelter, which he LOVES.
He's not overly fond of the hairnet as a fashion accessory, but I think he really rocks the look. ;)



1. Find your niche. There are so many opportunities available for volunteering, that it's okay to find your niche. Try something out once or twice, see if you like it, and if you don't, that's okay! When you're just starting out as a volunteer, you haven't made a long-term commitment (and you may never do so, which is 100% fine too!), so if you don't like what it is you're doing, simply move on to something or somewhere else. We have volunteered as a family at many functions and events within the community, and not all of them have worked out for one reason or another. My youngest, however, has now found his niche. He absolutely LOVES helping serve food to homeless people at one of the local shelters. He's good at it too, and the visitors and/or residents look forward to seeing him behind the counter.

2. Get the family involved. My kids do understand the value of helping others. By reaching out to those who need it, and helping to make a real difference, they see and get a better understanding of how team work is important. They also start to realize that they are not as 'unlucky' as they might sometimes think (ex. being sad they didn't get an iPad or something else that is pricey).That's a big deal to me, because we do live in a very privileged society. Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful we do, but it's important that our kids realize not everyone has all they could want and more. Additionally, they get to be a part of something bigger than themselves, which is imperative for so many reasons, including that it helps set the tone for their future decisions. As they continue to get older, if they've had a solid foundation that has included consistently and joyfully participating in volunteer events in and around their community, they will likely seek out ways as they grow into young adults that will allow them to remain actively involved in philanthropy . By teaching them at a young age, the value of giving their time and talents, you're setting them up to pay it forward all throughout their future adult lives. What's not to love about that?

Marking out the UPC symbols at a community food drive.
3. Make sure you are fulfilled. Yes, volunteer activities are about focusing on other people and things, but make sure you're also feeling fulfilled in whatever it is you are doing. When you feel happy and enriched, it is pretty much guaranteed that you will be bringing your 'all,' emotionally and physically, to the table. Why would you want to bring anything less? The old saying that you have to take care of yourself before you can take care of others holds true here. Find that which makes your heart happy, and volunteer work will no longer be classified as 'work,' instead it will be a joy for you, and for those around you as well.

4. Expand your horizons. The primary reason for doing volunteer work, at least in my book, is to shift your focus off of yourself and reach out to help others. Don't be afraid though, to embrace the benefits as well! Volunteer work can help enrich your knowledge of people, places and things. It can enable you to make new like-minded friends. It can also open doors for you that you might not have even know existed. Embrace those things and more, as you work with others for others. Chances are high the blessings you receive, will also help you further bless others.

5. My final tip: Do not get overwhelmed! Once you get serious about volunteering, and other people start to see it, it is highly likely that your participation will be highly sought out. Remember that it is okay to say, 'no.' You want the efforts you put forth to be from your heart. When they start becoming a burden instead of a joy, resentment or discontent can quickly take root. Be proactive and stop that from happening by doing the amount and type of volunteer work you can handle, and that which is pleasurable to you. One of the best things about 'volunteering' is you get to specify the time, hours, effort, etc. that you want to expend. Take advantage of that and do not overextend yourself. In the end, everyone will be thankful, most especially you. :)

68 comments:

Janine Huldie said...

What great advice, Rosey to all of the above, especially not getting overwhelmed as volunteering doesn't have to add more stress to anyone's already crazy or busy life still, too. Thanks for sharing and once again wishing you a wonderful day now!! :)

Pat Hatt said...

Saying no is a big one. That's why a lot learn to hate volunteering as they are used up and spit out. When it becomes another job, one really has to give no a go.

Sandee said...

This is such a good thing for kids to learn. They need to see all of the world not just theirs. I know many parents that make sure their kids get involved in volunteering. They will remember to be a volunteer all of their lives.

Have a fabulous day. ☺

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Great tips and opportunities to volunteer. Doing something for others is so satisfying. We volunteer for a lot of outside projects through our church.

mail4rosey said...

It's easy to get overwhelmed if you bite off more than you can chew, that's for sure!! I've learned and adjusted and it's a much happier experience now for all of us. :)

mail4rosey said...

I have seen volunteer coordinators that would do that, and not even realize it. There's always more need, so I can see why some might latch on when they come across a willing participant. Better not to do it though, a burnt out volunteer, is very likely soon to be a volunteer no more. ;)

mail4rosey said...

Agreed. And fabulous day to you too, Sandee. :)

mail4rosey said...

We volunteer quite a bit through our church too. The preacher's wife has a lot of 'in's' for folks who need help. :)

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Terrific post, lady. I was a long-time volunteer for just about any kind of project you can think of, and it was all thoroughly enjoyable, especially once I learned to say NO. (Believe me, that was a very difficult thing for me to do.) I agree about getting children involved in the volunteer projects, too, and for all the reasons you gave and more.

Jen said...

I absolutely love volunteering! It gives me so much joy working for and helping others.

mail4rosey said...

I had to learn to say that word too, and guess what? The world didn't end when I mastered the skill (I had my worries priot to, you know). ;)

mail4rosey said...

I knew that about you. :)

Mandee said...

I love being able to volunteer and meet new people while I'm at it. It keeps me busy and I enjoy letting the kids get involved too. It's true that you need to have that sense of fulfillment, but know when to step back and not get too overwhelmed. I agree that you need to find something that you enjoy.

Pam said...

Those are all great tips, but I especially like the one about finding your niche. I know when we volunteer for causes we like instead of ones we are guilted into doing, we have so much more fun. We enjoy volunteering with animal shelters.

Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle said...

I love this so much. I think it's important for all of us to be involved in our communities and to show our kids how important it is.

Elephant's Child said...

I am a volunteer too. I have no clocked up over nineteen years on the crisis line - and get so much more than I give.

Bill Sweeney said...

Getting involved in our community is a great way to give back and to teach life lessons to the kids. They need to have a sense of service instilled in them.

Jen Rattie said...

I try to volunteer in the community whenever possible. Even if I can't get out to do something physical, I'll donate a few dollars to local charities. I want my kids to know that giving back is important.

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

You're a great mom and a great person.

Cacinda said...

I used to do a lot of volunteer work when I was younger. I need to get back into the commuinty and give back with these tips.

Masshole Mommy said...

We volunteer occasionally, but I would love to do it more often. It's such a good feeling to help out.

Amanda Love said...

It would be nice to make this a family affair. Teaching the kids about helping others is always welcome in my book. I love doing volunteer work.

AiringMyLaundry said...

I do want to start volunteering with my kids more often. I think it's important.

Dawn McAlexander said...

I have volunteered at nursing homes and homeless shelters. I would have to say that the nursing homes were more personally fulfilling for me.

valmg @ Mom Knows It All said...

Great post! I believe parents should encourage all of their children to volunteer and learn how to help out and give back to their community.

Theresa Mahoney said...

We started our girls volunteering young. I agree, it's ok to say no. We had one company try to badger us into doing more than our fair share over the holidays, when our time is already stretched thin, and unfortunately it left a really bad taste in my mouth. We won't be returning to that organization this winter. It definitely needs to come from the heart for it to be enjoyable for both the giver and the recipient.

Rachel Ferrucci said...

I really needed this- I used to volunteer and haven't in a long time and really need to get back to it!

Elizabeth O. said...

It's nice to be able to volunteer and help out. These are very good tips. You should find the cause that piques your interest the most. Aside from that, it's a great way to teach kids to help out in the community.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Rosey - great tips you've given us, and yes what a wonderful standard you are setting your kids for later on - they will make a plan to always volunteer. I don't do a huge amount but if someone wants help - then I'm around and I still visit the Nursing Home and one lady up there, and now I'm helping out with some memoir writing for people who want to write their thoughts down - elderlies ... so I go to learn, but to 'teach' too ... works all ways as you say.

Cheers Hilary

Toni | Boulder Locavore said...

This is a great thing kids should learn. Doing volunteer work really feels great. I always tell my kids how happy it feels knowing you help others without expecting anything in return!

Annemarie LeBlanc said...

I am proud to say that my children readily volunteer during outreach programs or disaster assistance. They help out in feeding programs, soup kitchens and donate regularly to their favorite charity. They said that the feeling of being able to help others in need is a heartwarming experience.

Anonymous said...

Volunteering is important and so is balance. Lord knows the last thing you want is an unhappy volunteer

Sandy Cain said...

ESPECIALLY don't get overwhelmed, that's my favorite tip. If you over-do it, you'll find yourself wishing you hadn't started in the first place. Find your niche, too, is a good one - at a nursing home, or with animals...whatever. Thanks! Great article!

Nicole @ Frugal Family Finds said...

Love these ideas! All of my kids are in scouts, and we love that they are learning to give back at such a young age.

Seattle Travel Blogger said...

I think volunteering is, as you say, a great way to get outside your own head and start viewing the world from a different angle. I really like your post and think it will be so helpful to myself and others.

Louise Bishop said...

We are very active in charities and actually know a few close friends who own and run them. I love what it does for my kids and their outlook on life.

pinkoddy said...

I love this - especially as it is teaching children such good values. Personally I don't understand being bored there's so much to do in the world - even if that is just to stop and do nothing and enjoy the world.

Kristi Maloney said...

When I was in Catholic High School we volunteered at a homeless shelter in Lawrence. I remember it well. It was a wonderful experience. It is so nice that you volunteer with your family on a regular basis. These are great tips Rosey. I love that first picture of your son....he is rocking that look! :)

Aurora Afable said...

The thing about getting involved is that you feel as if you have a purpose in life. It makes you feel wanted and needed.

~ Noelle said...

Broxton wants to volunteer at the Ronald McDonald house. You have to be 9, so not quite yet.

Peng Desuyo said...

Volunteering is really a great way to make use of your time while giving back to the community. It is also important that you enjoy what you are doing.

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Our family world said...

volunteering are enormous to you, your family, and your community. The right match can help you to reduce stress, find friends, reach out to the community, learn new skills, and even advance your career.

Claire Pajarillo said...

it is good to introduce kids to volunteerism. we need more volunteers now and in the near future.

Ayesha Heart said...

Truly an amazing feeling when you know that you're able to help the people around you.

Colette S said...

Well written.
I agree with all these tips. Thank you.

Maria Perry Mohan said...

I volunteered regularly in literacy and counselling projects before I married two decades ago. Nowadays, what little spare time I have goes towards trying to build up a writing career. Maybe I should volunteer again. I suppose if an interesting opportunity comes up, I will.

The Mommy-Files said...

These are some awesome tips you shared about getting involved. I used to volunteer more before I had kids. I would love to start volunteering again at some point.

Lorelai @ Life With Lorelai said...

I love that paraphrased statement that you opened with -- the "me" state of mind. That is so awesome, and so true. Volunteering is a wonderful way to make a difference, even if it is small, and putting a smile on someone's face or warming their heart, brings smiles and warmth to you with every remembrance.

~Lorelai
Life With Lorelai

Kristina Paché Ferency said...

At my past employers I would volunteer a lot for different charities our company would help with. Now that I'm a SAHM I need to get back into that especially with my children to show them how important it is to give and help make a difference.

Natalie Loves Beauty said...

Volunteering is such a great way to give back to the community. I used to work for a non-profit and it was so great seeing people get involved and help those in need.

adriana nudo said...

Such great tips! Feeling fulfilled in whatever you do is SO incredibly important. Loved this!

Jamie @ The Skinny Soul said...

I LOVE the focus here on serving others! It's wonderful to serve with your children, because you are helping others and teaching your children at the same time. You are right--somehow, in serving others, it fulfills the person serving. Thank you for posting this :)

Carol Cassara said...

It would be nice to get involved and contribute to the community. These are lovely ways to do just that. It's all about helping as much as you can when needed.

Lisa Collins said...

This article is perfect timing for me! We were just at College Crossroads night with our daughter and they talked about volunteering so she is thinking about places to do that!

MarciaF said...

I used to volunteer a lot but had to stop to take care of my elderly parents and now I take care of my little grandchildren. But once they are in school full time I need to get myself back into this life since it's so important.

Anonymous said...

this is something that my kids need to learn! my family used to volunteer in some community events! i love reading such inspirational post like this. ! keep it up!

-Kelly Reci

love you wedding said...

a great tips! Volunteers are always in great demand in the animal welfare world. The problem is that many prospective volunteers imagine that the only way they can help is to clean out cages and litter boxes.

Stacey Demirgian said...

How amazing. Teaching you kids young is what people need to do. your awesome ty

Czjai Reyes-Ocampo said...

I try to do volunteer work at least once or twice a year, but I have not brought my son along whenever I do. This will be a whole new experience for him, and I'm sure he can learn a lot from it. :)

Kaitlin Ryan said...

Such good tips! I think volunteering is so important, and it is such a good idea to get the whole family involved especially kids at a young age. It teaches them the importance of helping others.

Elisha Elyssa said...

We love volunteering in the community with our family! It gets us all involved, and we love feeling that we make a difference in other's lives.

Wren LaPorte said...

Volunteering is so important. I will use some of these tips when my kids are old enough to participate and we can make it a family event.

Maria Lianos-Carbone said...

My son's hockey team put together a sporting goods drive, and they all helped gather equipment to ship to aboriginal communities. It was so nice to see them all work together to help others.

alissa apel said...

I'd like to set my kids up with something like this. I was hoping they'd have some more opportunities in their leadership camp. They don't really do volunteer work for other organizations though.

SveetesKapes said...

Love this post and I couldn't agree more! There is so much satisfaction in volunteering and giving back to the community.

xx, Kusum | www.sveeteskapes.com

Anonymous said...

I absolutely love the various ways yoiubshare here about getting involved in giving back and finding that inner abundant spirit. Our children definitely must be taught this! :)

Julie Syl Kalungi

krystal said...

I know that we need to volunteer more as a family. This is a good reminder.

Courtney Aduke Schulist said...

It's way too easy to get overwhelmed when beginning something new and maybe putting more effort than we can really afford into it. That's a great tip.