Please consider this….

As I plan to begin volunteering for the Rodeo planning season on top of full time employment, part time University training, and my daughter… not to mention a recent hobby (skydiving…!), I’m concerned for the schedule.

However, after some consideration, I realized how non-negotiable my volunteerism & community service to a worthy cause is to me.

Since then, I’ve planned accordingly to adjust my course work so that I can accelerate my program and concentrate on it in the month prior to February (Rodeo season kick off) and in the weeks in early March as Rodeo season ends and just before the course closes.

Why? Because 1.2M in additional scholarships in 2017 will change lives, lots of them. Someone underprivileged will receive college prep training.

Someone will go to college and software programs will be added to local schools because I contributed… not solely me, but also with me.

A few years ago, I asked a simple question. Who ran the holiday charity at work? No one. So I started one. Last year, with vendor partnership, we raised $8,000 dollars for our local charity of choice.

The result: children that may not have enjoyed a holiday season due to thousands of layoffs (blame a sharp decline in O&G business last year) received holiday goods, food & presents, fairly distributed, with a cap per child/household & based on income requirements.

When I asked who organized the care packages sent to our resident reservist currently overseas, they said, no one’s ever volunteered to organize the effort. So I did.

When in high school, the director for the service organization I was involved in approached me & said, if you don’t run this next year, I don’t think anyone else will. So I did, somewhat reluctantly but still, with generosity.

When I’m college, I saw how poorly the community fall festival was run and how many young children in big families run through the busy, unlit streets, I decided someone had to do it. I did it…better, much better.

With a team of volunteers & local donations, we had over 500 kids… leaving almost none on the dark, busy (read unsafe!) street that weekend, in that neighborhood.

Ask the question & don’t be afraid to take the lead! If you don’t start it, how can you be sure someone else will? How long could that take…?

My point is, I know it’s tough, sometimes really tough, and your life is somewhat disrupted, maybe there is even a slight burden on your schedule…

You might have to make adjustments like leave work on time one day or get up earlier on a weekend… Maybe ask a relative to watch your kids for a couple of hours once a week or plan ahead to meet your other deadlines a little differently but I absolutely insist on this standard from myself.

I always have made it a priority to find opportunities to give back to various organizations; Rotary Club,Interact International, NHS, church committees, neighborhood watch groups, homeless shelters, crisis hotlines, animal shelters, local library, hospitals, Red Cross Shelters, Salvation Army, Universities’ research programs/labs, etc. (Yes, you can volunteer there, too!)

You can volunteer in the children’s units at the hospitals or to run game night at the nursing home. You can help collect research at the university. You can ring bells for Salvation Army. You can give blood at The Red Cross Organization.

I know not every organizations’ donations schedules operate the same and they are not ALL non-profit. (If you prefer non-profit exclusively, you may need to do some more research to ensure the organization you choose complies with that standard.)

I’ve found it’s easier to chat with someone at the organization to understand the requirements first before signing up… Are they strict or flexible with scheduling? Does that organization fit your interest and schedule parameters? Maybe give it some thought and find an area you are interested in. That’s where you should donate your time (or money, if you prefer.)

This is a short list and almost any community has at least one of these available.

Do it because you love your community, your neighbor or you want your child to grow up in a better situation with more. Do it because it sets a good example for others.

Do it because you want to see if you could work in a clinic, at a hotline or in a research lab. Do it because your candidate won or didn’t win the election but you care about each other anyway.

Do it because you have time on summer or winter break. Do it because you can’t afford to donate or do it because you already donate & you want to put your time into another cause.

Do it because your job in business doesn’t offer enough opportunities to give back.Do it because you give good advice and you remember what it’s like to be in crisis. Do it because you can help.

Do it because nobody organizes an event or motivates a room to action better than you. Do it because the clinic is short staffed and you remember when their services helped you.

Do it because you can. Do it because giving back feels damn good.

Just find a reason that matters & do it.

Then, go on the internet, ask a friend, etc… find an opportunity to contribute your time & efforts.

Once you find that opportunity, commit yourself to a certain predetermined amount of time that you are absolutely willing to give. Meet people in the organization early on, who can help guide you as you start out.

Start small, with attainable goals so you don’t over-allocate yourself or overcommit & burn out too fast either! Maybe a short amount of time in a day, or for X number of sessions- probably under 10, or just one committee… Maybe just one season, if you aren’t available all year.

You can also ask a friend or relative to volunteer with you or go in expecting to meet new people with similar interests. You can usually align your schedule with theirs for future sessions, if you prefer, too.

If you are not restricted by health or time, there is an opportunity to contribute to society that is available/fits your schedule, participate!

Other things you can donate besides time; money, books, clothes,… Donate your money because you can’t keep the clinic open by yourself or the police officers family in better standing after an accident but you know that others will donate too and that will make the difference.

Donate your books because maybe that one book will inspire someone else to become more educated, researched, interested, involved in some way! Donate your clothes because not everyone can afford to buy them.

On the more ultimate side of contibution towards our society/nation: you can donate your military service, your blood, platelets, and yes, organs. Do this if you desire with a generous heart but also with careful deliberation.

I hope as we move towards the holidays and near year, we can all seek out causes to dedicate our efforts to, execute them & remain focused on this agenda.

I know this was an unusually long read for anything I’ve written but I hope this reminds, encourages, inspires….

Thank you for reading! ❤️

#oneunitednation #stayinvolved #leanin #spiritofservice #volunteerism

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