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.
If you’re really motivated and energetic, consider organizing a group to participate in Make a Difference Day, coming up on October 26. 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.