Volunteering has always been a part of my way of being in the world. My first memories of “doing something for others” includes walking closely behind my dad as he canvassed for one organization or another. I fondly recall spending hours in the basement of our local Legion as my mom catered endless banquets or was the bingo checker where a few hundred folks would gather to play a couple of cards once a week. My dad would tell me that when you feel passionate about something, it is easy to give of your time. After he retired he expanded his volunteer services to coaching children’s curling, walking in various fundraising events and supporting the catering at senior’s dances. He was always busy. As a child I remember thinking that my dad was a champion. Whenever he showed up at an event to give of his time and energy, many people already knew him. He was part of the community in so many ways, and I always admired that.
This sense of community became part of my own life experiences. As an adolescent and then as an adult I looked for ways to be involved in the community by looking for ways to be involved in areas of interest or need. As my own children grew I became involved in their events. One year, there was no soccer coach for the children so I became the coach for 1 season. Another year, the graduating class had no parent to organize the safe after grad event so I stepped up to the task. There have been casinos, parent councils, bingo’s, selling tickets, taking tickets, cleaning tables, collecting bottles and on and on. I have learned so much about my community and been blessed with riches in ways that are not reflected in my bank account.
As the United Way campaign begins, I challenge you to ask yourself – what do I love to do? Do I have time in my life right now to give a little (or a lot) of my time to helping others? If you look you will see possibilities all over our region to give of your time. Join a “Seeing is Believing tour” to see for yourself where the dollars are going in the community. Perhaps you will be inspired and changed as a result.
My dad died 11 years ago now. I really wish he would have lived to see me in my new role as a Community Investment Coordinator with United Way. I like to think he would have been proud to see me using my years as a teacher and leader in education and my years volunteering and advocacy in the community to make a difference in this role. I am excited about the possibilities!