“Why volunteer? Why give away your good, hard earned free-time to some organization? Why not just relax a bit? I just don’t get it.”
This is what a co-worker said to me the other day when I apologized that I couldn’t meet her for lunch later next week because I would be at RCASA. I was a bit taken aback to say the least. This is someone kind, generous, and fun; how could she not understand the feeling I get every time I walk through the tiny office of RCASA. How could she be confused about the way it feels to hold the hand of a person who has been sexually assaulted only hours before and hear them say, “thank you for being here.” How did SHE just not ‘get it?’
There are an endless list of reasons people get involved as a volunteer, for me it boils down to a couple of things, and while I’d love to say it is all altruistic, it’s not, I am certainly here to learn, grow, gain knowledge, and experience while helping others.
I volunteer my time at RCASA because:
- I am called to stand up and help, I am called to make an impact on the people around me, I am called to engage in helping that is beyond my comfort zone.
- I want to make a difference. It provides an opportunity to give back what I have been blessed with.
- It promotes self-growth. Not only am I using skills I already have, I am learning new skills.
- I want to make connections within my community.
- I have been lucky to meet new people from different walks of life.
- I am able to promote an organization that I believe in, an organization that is full of people who are here because they want to help and want to empower others.
- I am on a journey; helping others is the greatest way I have found to learn about myself.
Throughout your life, there is a voice only you can hear. A voice which mythologists label “the call.” A call to the value of your life. The choice of risk and individual bliss over the known and secure.
You may choose not to hear your spirit. You may prefer to build a life within the compound, to avoid risk. It is possible to find happiness within a familiar box, a life of comfort and control.
Or, you may choose to be open to new experiences, to leave the limits of your conditioning, to hear the call. Then you must act.
If you never hear it, perhaps nothing is lost. If you hear it and ignore it, your life is lost.
Volunteering my time has made the time I do make for myself even more special. I am better able to see how good I actually have it, how far I have come, and better equipped to plot the path I am taking toward the future.