Sowing a seed
You never can tell when you do an act
Just what the result will be;
But with every deed you are sowing a seed,
Though the harvest you may not see.
— Ella Wheeler Wilcox
It’s not surprising that several research studies document the benefits of volunteering to help others, whether formally or informally. While such efforts take time — hours that must be carved out of already busy schedules — I often hear people say how glad they are when they make it a priority, stating “I gain so much more than I give.”
The great thing about volunteering is that there are countless opportunities, with needs to fit every set of skills or preferences. Show up for a clean-up or work day at a local park, camp or community center. Tutor those who are incarcerated and working toward a GED, or struggling elementary school students who just need a little extra attention, or people who want to learn English but can’t afford classes.
Volunteer to mentor a young adult through Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, or Best Buddies. Coach little league teams or athletes participating in Special Olympics. Walk dogs at a local animal shelter. Host home gatherings for Bible studies, youth groups or just a bunch of friends and neighbors who haven’t gotten together for a long time.
The camaraderie shared by people working together to serve others is unlike any other you will experience. At such times, the word “community” takes on a whole new meaning. If you’ve been feeling blue, isolated or lonely, you might want to consider joining a local effort to serve others. You’ll meet some of the happiest, most generous and fun people you would ever want to know. And you just might be one of them.