The idea of volunteering your time seems like it would be really easy; you show up, do some work, you leave feeling like a better person. However, this simply isn’t the case.
First, to volunteer somewhere, you have to make contact with the organization in order to ensure they need volunteers when you expect to come, and that you have other possible qualifications necessary to volunteer with their program. Typically, this initial contact is made via a phone call.
If you’re as shy as I am, you know how terrifying a phone call to a stranger can be, and you know how easy it can be to procrastinate this task. As you dial the number, you can feel your stomach tightening and you begin to sweat as you hear the repetitive dooooot of the phone ringing. Thousands of little worries come to your mind: What if I forget my name? Why am I calling again? What if I stutter? They’re going to think I’m an idiot….Oh no they’re not gonna answer, now I’ll have to stumble through a voicema- Oh! They’re picking up! They’re talking. That means I have to talk soon. Oh NO!
You get the idea, I’m sure. The whole conversation, you’re trying to take in all the information they’re giving you while also quickly coming up with what you need to say to them in return, and next thing you know, they’re welcoming you and thanking you for volunteering to help them. You’re thanking them for giving you the opportunity to help others and then the conversation is over.
A flood of emotions hits you like a wall; relief, happiness, satisfaction, and perhaps even a smidge of pride. Already, the power of being kind to others is positively affecting your life.
All of this is taken from personal experience; I was extremely panicked when I made my first call to a local after-school care program to offer them my services, but I felt instant relief to know that, as long as I had the proper clearances, they would love to have my assistance for their program and to invite others to volunteer with them as well. Instant relief washed over me like a tidal wave, as I was very grateful to know my assistance was truly needed.
Almost equally terrifying is the first in-person meeting with the organization you’re working with. In my case, I was extremely concerned with if I was dressed professionally enough, or if upon meeting me in person they would decide I was too young or inexperienced to be of any true value. Fortunately, this encounter also went over smoothly and I was able to begin my first day helping the students in the program.
To conclude, I would like to challenge anyone who reads this to take just a few minutes of their time to look around them and give consideration to organizations around them that might need assistance. Sure, making a phone call or meeting with the people may be intimidating, but you’ll be fine and the organization will be happy to have you.
Perhaps by considering or fulfilling this challenge, you can begin to discover what the words kindness, giving, and charity mean in your own life.