I’m trying to recall the first time I volunteered. Since I can’t remember a time I wasn’t volunteering, one could say I have been doing it my whole life.
Volunteering started early in my childhood. Whether help was needed at the church or in the neighborhood, it was “something you just did.” I have continued that way of thinking my whole life. Throughout the years, I’ve had the opportunity to volunteer for various non-profits. However, when I became a parent it was only natural to steer my efforts toward events in our community and organizations which directly affected our children. This usually meant one or both of them were in tow. Soon, volunteering became “something you just did” for them, too. Watching my now 17 and 19 year olds volunteer gives me great hope the volunteer-tradition will continue.
There are studies and statistics out on the wild-wild-web to prove what I have learned in my 40+ years of volunteering. I won’t try to impress you with someone else’s knowledge, but I will share what I passionately believe to be true…
- Volunteering makes you feel good from the top of your head to the tip of your toes. Knowing you have helped someone in need or helped a non-profit reach an annual goal is one of the BEST feelings in the whole world!
- Volunteering teaches you to be flexible. Events/opportunities can often change last minute. You have to be ready to adjust to whatever situation may arise.
- Volunteering helps you make new friends. People are pulled from all areas of town and all walks of life. It’s a wonderful opportunity to step out of your comfort zone. I’ve made some life-long friends while volunteering.
- Volunteering teaches you time management. Often our daily responsibilities and commitments have to be rearranged to volunteer. It’s never a good thing to leave a volunteer shift because you forgot to pick up your child from soccer.
- Volunteering brings families together. Some of my fondest, family memories are of times the four of us spent volunteering. The conversations post volunteering are informative, interesting, and often full of laughter.
- Volunteering puts life in perspective. It helps us acknowledge our good fortune, good health, and strong support system. It teaches humility.
- Volunteering helps you live longer. Enough said!
Volunteering is a big part of my life and who I am. When interviewing for my job with ATKG, I was asked if I had any questions. Of course, I inquired if ATKG volunteered as a company in the community. I quickly discovered they have a community involvement committee that looks for various volunteer opportunities. It has been an incredible experience. So if you haven’t volunteered before or if you haven’t volunteered in a long time, I encourage you to get out there. Lend a helping hand, make a friend, and “live long and prosper”!
By: Sandy Winkley, Staff Accountant