HOME

NEWS

CHARITIES

VOLUNTEER

ACTION CENTER

ADD CHARITY

CONTACT

SUPPORT

World Environment Community Health Animals Celebrity Submit A Site Find A Charity
Volunteer work helped me to find myself, and my way in life

By Amy Hirshberg Lederman , Arizona Daily Star

3143 days ago   Article ID# 470617
Original URL

 

National Conference on Citizenship

TUCSON, ARIZONA (Arizona Daily Star) - The year was 1976: America celebrated its 200th birthday, Alex Haley published "Roots" and I arrived in Tucson with a backpack, college degree and $80 in my pocket. My parents were less than thrilled with my post-grad decision to hitchhike across the country to "find myself," and my mother's parting words summed up her anxiety: "When you stick out your thumb to get a ride, my face will be at the end of it." Predictably, I never used my thumb but found a unique way of flagging down cars with a bandanna.

But it didn't take long before my wanderlust turned to wonder-lust. I wondered, long and hard, about what I would actually do with a bachelor's degree in psychology and no real skills other than waitressing tables and acquiring a serious tan.

I don't remember much from my 20s (not because I didn't inhale, but because my memory is getting hazy), but one thing stands out: Volunteering did more to positively influence my choices than almost anything else.

It may be the best-kept secret of all time, but it's true. If you want to find purpose and meaning in your life, if you want to connect with others who share your values and if you want to feel that you really count for something - get out and volunteer.

I started with what I knew - food. As I bagged organic products at the Food Co-op on Fourth Avenue, I met wonderful people and learned more about Tucson than any guidebook ever told me. A volunteer job at the Second Street School led to a paying job when a parent asked me to work privately with her disabled daughter. We didn't call it networking in those days, but that's exactly what it was: a pathway to the people, places and opportunities that would indelibly affect my efforts to define myself and determine a career.

At a time when funding for so many of our community needs and services is being cut, it is more important than ever to volunteer. Yet, according to a study by the National Conference on Citizenship, 72 percent of Americans report that over the past year they have reduced the time they spend volunteering, largely as the result of the recession and a need to look out for themselves. The findings amount to what the report's authors called "a civic depression."

The paradox of volunteering is this: The more you give, the more you are given - personally, psychologically and professionally. Research shows that volunteering can engender a greater sense of well-being and confidence, better sleep, a stronger immune system and even a speedier recovery from illness or surgery.

Helping others who have problems or needs greater than your own can provide a perspective about your own life that contributes to a more positive attitude or sense of self-worth.

Informal networking can lead you into new directions and open doors you never knew existed.

It is truly a win-win situation as everyone, from the giver to the recipient to those who are inspired by your efforts and decide to volunteer as a result, comes out ahead.

Winston Churchill said it beautifully with these words: "We make a living by what we do, but we make a life by what we give."

Today, more than ever before, we should heed his message.




Copyright 2018 Arizona Daily Star   (Copyright Terms)
Updated 3143 days ago   Article ID# 470617

National Conference on Citizenship    Visit Website

<< Return To Community Service News

Action Center

Climate change will bring more and more heat waves

Action: Climate Change

The heat in Malaysia often feels next to unbearable. For days on end, the sun is scorching and the heat is sweltering. That, ...

End Phosphate Mining in Manatee County

Action: Wildlife Conservation

The expansion of phosphate mining in Manatee County would threaten freshwater resources in the Myakka and Peace River watersh ...

Amazon basin deforestation could disrupt distant rainforest by remote climate connection

Action: Stop Deforestation

The ongoing deforestation around the fringes of the Amazon may have serious consequences for the untouched deeper parts of th ...

Stop coal mining assault on this roadless forest

Action: Stop Pollution

President Trump has been clear since day one that he’s turning over the nation’s public lands and environment to King Coa ...

Defend our wildlife from the search for Atlantic oil

Action: Save Our Oceans

From Maine to Florida, people along the East Coast strongly oppose offshore oil and gas drilling in the Atlantic Ocean -- yet ...

View All Actions >>

 

 

Charities

News

Follow Us

Support

Find A Charity

Action Center

World

Community

Facebook

Twitter Support

Contact

Volunteer

Add A Site

Environment

Animals

Google+

Privacy Policy

Copyright

 

 

Health

Celebrity

Terms of Service

Copyright The Charity Vault All rights reserved.