I am what you would call a philanthropic late bloomer. It’s not that I didn’t care before (I’ve always donated money to charity here and there, helped friends and neighbors in need, etc.), but the thought of volunteering my time on a regular basis was foreign to me. I wasn’t opposed to it, but I had the notion that volunteering was something for people that had more money and time than I, perhaps something I’d do when the kids were grown and/or I retired.
I was in my early 40’s when a friend asked me for help. She was involved in a fledgling non-profit organization and they needed someone to write emails and make phone calls temporarily. I was happy to help, not realizing that my whole way of looking at the world was about to change. As I became more involved with the organization, I began to see how even a small part like mine was helping other people. I got to meet some of the most inspiring and gracious folks I’ve ever known. I learned that, regardless of my own limitations and because of the privileges I’ve enjoyed, I do have a responsibility to lift some of the burden off others in the world.
If you’d like to do more, but feel you’ve got enough on your plate or are doubtful as to what you have to offer, I am here to tell you that a volunteering opportunity exists that will fit your schedule, your skill set and your personality. You don’t have to be a leader (unless you want to). You don’t have to spend all your free time. You don’t even have to talk much, if you’re shy. A little bit from each volunteer goes an extraordinarily long way. Kind of like a CMe Stories necklace: each little bead may not seem like much on it’s own, but when you string them together, a thing of extraordinary beauty and usefulness is created.
Josie is a Nebraska-based freelance writer.