VOLUNTEERING. Why? How? When? I found myself asking these questions as I was being laid off. As I mentioned in my first blog, when you become unemployed you should set goals. One of the goals I set was to volunteer. Well since this has happened, my life has been granted many blessings that I don’t take for granted. As I sit here and write this, I can’t even begin to set in words how volunteering has changed my life for the better.
Why? Well what else are you going to do while seeking new employment? There’s only so much TV to watch before you start to smell and find yourself lost in the crumbs of your bed. Clean the house, sure, but how many times can you do that when it’s just you and your hubby now. Do something and not just for yourself, but for others. The benefits of volunteering are not just what you are doing for someone else, but wow, it’s what you as a person take away from it. I lay awake sometimes thinking about how great it makes me feel. Here’s the thing, I’m not getting paid monetarily that is, but my payment is the satisfaction knowing you did something for someone else and not the focus on yourself. Did I make someone happy today?
How? Start small. Talk to those around you and see what they do to volunteer. A lot of times you end up volunteering because a friend recruited you. Sometimes it can be for a bit of selfish reasons, to network and sometimes it’s just for the sheer belief in a cause. But just do it. It doesn’t have to come in a form of signing up with an organization. It can be to help a friend. Help with neighbors. You find yourself with time and your friends don’t have the time, ask how you can be there for them. Sometimes it’s just to hold someone’s hand.
The following people that I personally know all live in Monrovia and they find themselves unemployed and volunteer. They are in the Middle Age range, so let me introduce them to you. You might even know them.
Nancy Matthews is a 47 year old underemployed adjunct faculty member of a prestigious university and she volunteers in numerous ways. I sat in on a class she teaches for English as a second language at the . She helps people who have a difficult time with the English language and wow it’s an exciting class. She also helps with the in Monrovia by cleaning up the freeway as part of the Keep Monrovia Beautiful project. In fact she invited me to help.
Brian Ulm is a 47 year old recently underemployed from a large corporation. He volunteers as the chair of the Monrovia Community Services Commission, and is a commission liaison to KGEM and to the . He is also a member of the committee and volunteers with other various programs in Monrovia. He volunteers because he loves Monrovia and wanted to give back do things that improve the quality of life for the community.
Cathy McCallum is a 61 year old retired software engineer. She volunteers at as an AVID tutor and in the library, at MUSD as a member of the District Advisory Committee, and at the Santa Fe and city spelling bees as spell master. She started volunteering 16 years ago when Julia was 3, as a parent aid at her nursery school. I had quit my career as a software engineer when she was born, and needed to be busy. Volunteering has definitely kept her busy!
I’m 51 and an unemployed Legal Secretary and a master at whatever you want me to do. (Kidding about the master part). I volunteer with the Friends of the Monrovia Public Library and with the Royal Oaks Manor. I help the elderly with their trips. I also find things to do for my friends. You’d be surprised how busy you get when your friends know you don’t work.
Kristen Warren 49 years and a newly unemployed Junior Escrow Officer. She volunteers with Blue Star, which is an organization that helps families of military personnel.
The above mentioned people also do more, but I don’t have room to list everything. I personally know a lot of people in Monrovia who volunteer. What do we all have in common, besides being fun to be with? The consensus of my friends is that we all want to give back. It makes us all happy. It also helps the community. If it weren’t for volunteers in your community, projects and programs wouldn’t run smoothly.
So now you find yourself unemployed? Did you ever think you were going to find yourself in this position at this stage of our lives? What do you do? Go out there and Volunteer. It’s the right thing to do. The blessings are immeasurable.