Sunday, January 30, 2011

Volunteering (Continuing to Spread the Kindness)

On Monday, January 10, I posted about getting back to volunteering.  I have tried to find something that truly touches my heart and gives me purpose so that I will be able to stick to it even when life gets crazy busy!  I love working with the elderly and with children, always have.  I get so much out of being with them than they probably ever get from me.

While exploring my possibilities, I came across many wonderful websites offering information and help with getting started with volunteering.  I came across a list of "Questions to ask before volunteering" which I am reprinting for you - great information!

Before choosing a volunteer opportunity, form a clear idea of your preferences and the implications of your decision to volunteer.  

1. Ask yourself if you want to:
  • Serve people in need directly
  • Serve behind the scenes
  • Use the talents and skills you already have
  • Learn new skills
  • Help address community problems
  • Work with national or international issues

2. What would you like to gain?
  • Help someone
  • Feel needed
  • Put faith in action
  • Give back what you have gotten
  • Meet others with like values
  • Lend support to a cause or issue
  • Make new friends
  • Build a resume
  • Make professional contacts
  • Gain academic credit
  • Learn new skills
  • Make use of skills
  • Get out of the house
  • Make good use of your leisure time

3. What do you enjoy most?
  • Working by yourself or with others
  • Working indoors or outdoors
  • Working with children, people with disabilities, the elderly
  • Talking, telephoning
  • Researching topics or issues
  • Writing editing, typing, computer entry, tutoring
  • Giving advice, counseling

4. Consider how much time you can give
  • A few hours a week
  • One day or one evening a week
  • One weekend shift a month
  • A block of time (Part of a break/vacation)

5. What skills or resources can you utilize?
  • Legal, accounting, medical
  • Clerical
  • Maintenance
  • Event production
  • Personal contacts in the community
  • Organizing
  • Transportation
  • Child care
  • Companionship
  • Teaching experience
  • Arts and crafts
  • Athletic instruction

6. Special Considerations
  • Transportation to and from your volunteer activity
  • Miscellaneous expenses (parking, child care, etc.)

7. Dos and Don'ts
  • Do be flexible.
  • It is rare to find the "perfect" opportunity right away.
  • Do attend orientation meetings.
  • These meetings enable you to become informed.
  • Do take the necessary training classes.
  • Ask about them before you decide to become involved.
  • Do be responsible. Show up on time and follow through.
  • People are counting on you.
  • Don't expect to start at the top.
  • You have to work hard and prove your worth.
  • Don't think that volunteering has to be a group effort.
  • You can start your own volunteer program.
  • Do expect to get plenty of personal enjoyment and satisfaction from your volunteer experiences.  Credit

So far, I have chosen volunteer opportunities that are not long-lasting.  I have volunteered at a senior citizen center to do taxes for seniors.  Would you believe that 51 people have signed up to meet with me?  I guess you know what I am doing for the next few weekends.

I will update you when I figure out where I should be volunteering on a more permanent basis.

What types of activities do you enjoy when spending time volunteering?  I always love ideas!

Have a GREAT week!