What is it and why would anyone become involved in doing something for which there is no financial reward?
Those are interesting questions and truly leave one pondering the answers. It seems, especially in today’s hurry up world, there is hardly time to get off the treadmill of work and responsibility long enough to find that elusive ‘me’ time everyone is looking for, let alone take time to volunteer.
‘Me’ time, of course, is very important. Personally, I like that, the idea of taking time for me. Whether it be hot yoga or a simple coffee with a friend or a nice, quiet walk where the gentle sounds of nature calm, inspire and nurture my soul, ‘me’ time seems wonderful.
But that brings me back to the question?
Why do people volunteer?
I would have to say from my personal observation; there are a number of reasons, all of them valid.
Firstly, for some unfathomable reason, going above and beyond the ‘me’ stuff provides a payback that is hard to describe, but simply comes with a gut feeling that it is the right thing to do, and, in giving rather than receiving, the world, in some small, mys- terious way will be a better place.
Volunteers truly enjoy their own personal reward that cannot really be seen, only felt. Really, there is no explanation as to why it is better to give than to receive and to take time to lend a helping hand rather than worrying about getting enough ‘me’ time.
It just is.
In the big picture, volunteers are often thought of as the backbone of a com- munity. Why?
Mostly, because they are. They truly are!
It is volunteers who quietly, without much fuss or ado, dive headlong into projects that paid employees wouldn’t even consider unless, of course, there was a huge ‘overtime’ price tag attached.
It is volunteers who are there for youth who have reached a time in their life when they need a friend, a coach, a confidant or simply another human being who will take the time to listen with an empathetic ear.
It is volunteers who walk into long term care facilities and nursing homes and lodges and spend a few precious hours with seniors who are faced with sitting alone through another lonely evening.
And it is volunteers who grease the wheels of progress. These are the activators who don’t just sit and watch things happen.
They make things happen.
Volunteer week is April 12 to 18.
During this week and, of course, not only this week, but during every other week of the year, we need to remember our volunteers and say thanks for a job well done.
And, perhaps, even in the midst of our own busy lives, we can take the time to pay it forward and volunteer ourselves.
After all, in the long run, time is the greatest gift we can give.
And, it is a timeless gift that blesses both the giver and the receiver, not only in the present, but also for years to come.
It truly is a gift that keeps on giving!