You can make a difference in your life, family,
school, church, community, and world! The world needs
you -- your ideas, your compassion, and your spiritual
outlook. And, it's never too late to start contributing.
The best gifts are those from the heart.
Our Guest of the
Month, Mary Michael, has made a career out of
helping others. Here are her thoughts on how to start
being a volunteer as well as suggestions for making
a difference in others' lives.
- Be receptive. Have the attitude of, "How
can I help?" Lots of different things will
be brought to your attention.
- Find something that's interesting to you. Start
being aware of different organizations. You'll know
when one catches your attention.
- Look in newspapers and magazines, on your church
bulletin board; listen to the radio. There are always
ads and articles about different volunteer organizations
searching for people. I got involved in CASA because
I saw an ad.
- Expect to find something you like. Everything
I have gotten into has chosen me. I have seen an
ad or someone has brought something to me, and I
have realized that that was something I wanted to
Ideas for Making a Difference through Volunteering:
- Join "Project Linus." Linus is the character
in the Peanuts cartoon hugging his security blanket.
We make simple quilts and knit or crochet colorful
blankets that are then sent to hospitals, war areas,
or to any child in a stressful situation. Over 944,000
have been provided by the 346 chapters. For example,
every child who lost a parent in the 9/11 disaster
received a comforting, hand-made quilt or blanket
from Project Linus. So, if you are fortunate enough
to know how to knit or crochet or love to sew, this
volunteer work can be done at home any time and
brings a reminder of Love's presence to a sad child.
For more information, see www.projectlinus.org.
- Join a literacy program and teach someone how
to read. You will be trained in how to teach reading.
There are so many adults who don't know how to read.
Many are dyslexic. One woman found that she could
read upside down. I would usually read upside down
with the book facing the woman. But I could not
read a certain word. I turned the book to face me,
and the woman discovered she could read.
- Help in a soup kitchen.
- Join "Meals on Wheels" and take hot
meals to the elderly who are alone. You need to
be able to drive. It would be wonderful for young
adults to do this. These grandparents would love
having a conversation with a young person. They're
often just starved for that kind of relationship.
One woman, who had been a former school teacher
for year, just couldn't say enough about how wonderful
it was to talk with children who came to visit her.
- Be aware of older people in your neighborhood.
Offer your services for an hour a week -- wash windows,
read to them, sweep their porch, etc.
- Volunteer at a summer day camp. They always need
an extra pair of hands.
- You could always volunteer to take children in
your neighborhood or in your church out for an hour
for a walk to the park to give their parents a break.
- Become a CASA worker (Court Appointed Special
Advocate) for children. You have to be old enough.
interview for details. One thing to think about
is that you want to gain a child's trust in order
to learn about that child. I would usually bring
the children some ice cream or a book. I talked
a lot about my grandchildren so they could relate
to me -- how old they were, what they feared, what
they did. I even went to birthday parties. I saw
it as an opportunity to get to know them. Once you
know a child, you can very quickly tell if he or
she is under a strain, and you can help do the best
thing for that child.
Enjoy being a volunteer and giving of yourself! Your
life will be blessed more than you could ever imagine.