Tom Brokaw once said, “It’s easy to make a buck. It’s harder to make a difference.” Today some readers may disagree with the former statement. I disagree with the latter. It’s easy to make a difference if you’re a community volunteer.
I have a contract assignment this week with an outstanding public relations firm. It’s been great so far, creative and intellectually stimulating. Today I worked on a community engagement proposal. It was especially fun because community involvement is a topic close to my heart. Ergo, this blog post about volunteering – and the joy of making a difference.
I am a member of Hands On Tampa Bay, a.k.a., HOT. It’s part of the national Hands On volunteer network, and one of American Express’s 2010 Members Project partners. As a HOT volunteer I have packed food boxes for the Salvation Army, sorted donations for food pantries and thrift stores, prepared and packaged dinners for Meals on Wheels, delivered volunteer orientations, and led nearly 100 team projects for other agencies. I’ve worked with family members, friends, and coworkers. I’ve also met some very interesting people. I definitely have received more than I have given as a volunteer.
Some people volunteer to fill time, or to spend time with their kids. Some volunteer to give back and give thanks. Every volunteer hour I’ve invested has given me a sense of accomplishment, engagement, and joy. Being able to make a difference, to make life better for people in need, is an opportunity. I can share my good fortune with others and show my appreciation for the gifts I’ve received.
If you don’t regularly volunteer, consider the possibility. Your local United Way most likely has a volunteer center. There is sure to be more than one project that would suit your interests and the time you have available. Take a chance to be the change you’d like to see in the world.
If you do volunteer – thank you. Where, how, and why?