Service: Stacy Pearson on the Wonder of Volunteering
There is a woman, a volunteer from Minnesota, named Amy Nylander. About service, she says: "Volunteering is the best way to get things to change for the better. It isn’t about legislation. It isn’t about cash (although that helps—a lot). It’s about grass roots movements and people with their boots on the ground getting the job done. It’s also the best way to meet the best people. And it’s the best way to avoid doing laundry.” Amy was recently featured on a blog called TheBlogunteer, the purpose of which is solely to provide examples of helpful people and organizations to inspire others. Stacy Pearson, the blog's author, chooses who to shine the light on, but she is, in fact, a good example of the great spirit of volunteerism herself.
Stacy is a mom, wife, project manager, blogger, and volunteer, also from Minnesota. She says, "I have been volunteering since I was a child. In recent years, I have learned about many great organizations that seem to be hidden gems. I created Blogunteer to give organizations a place to be recognized and shared. I also enjoy profiling volunteers so they can be recognized for their amazing work. This blog is dedicated to inspiring volunteerism, giving, and kindness by highlighting the many organizations already out there making a difference and individuals who give their time."
The causes about which Stacy is most passionate have to do primarily with youth and literacy. Recently she gathered with a group of women to assemble bags full of cake mix, frosting, party supplies, and candy to help a family celebrate a child’s birthday. They donated these to the local food bank. "It touches my heart when a child has to suffer," she says, "either with an illness or through hunger, or when a child’s family can’t afford to provide them with an enjoyable childhood"
So, when she's not raising her own two young children, or working full-time as a project manager, or spending time with her husband, or blogging, she volunteers. She says:
"As a volunteer I feel rewarded, like I am doing something to make a difference. I also feel that volunteerism is a great way to build skills like leadership, confidence, organization, and more. Through my participation in the Minnesota Women of Today, I have seen women grow from shy followers into confident leaders by taking small steps. The first small step may be just coming along with a friend to a volunteer activity, then maybe volunteering to coordinate a project, and then stepping up to become a leader within an organization. Taking these steps in a safe volunteer environment enables growth in other portions of their life."
If volunteering truly is a fundamental way to affect life changes for others as well as one's self, why are we not all volunteering? I have seen the difference volunteers make, and have felt the joy of volunteering. It can be done in so many ways, particularly with the advent of microvolunteering sites like Sparked.com, VolunteerSpot.com, and VolunteerGuide.org. We all have the power and the means to help others.
What obstacles to volunteering do you face? Have you volunteered? How did it go?
Feature photo courtesy of Flickr.
Stacy Pearson photo courtesy of Glimpses of Soul Photography.