Why and How to Volunteer [Insider Story]
For avid volunteer Scott Allen, the affinity originated in part from a desire to help support his kids. The local PTA needed more voices, so he volunteered—and he stuck with it and eventually became the President of the PTA at the state level. When his kids started swimming competitively, Scott learned that meet organizers needed more officials, so he got certified, and he still officiates youth meets even though his own children have grown up.
Diane Billman, who volunteers with dog rescue, also saw a need and stepped in to fill it. “I adopted a dog from [the organization] and I fell in love with it, because they do so much good for the dogs. They do a lot of vetting to make sure that the person and the dog are a good match before the person can adopt the dog. I help the organization with fundraising and adoption events and admin. I truly love being able to help these dogs find happy homes.”
The joy, for Scott, Diane, and many other volunteers, is the sense of giving back to an organization that has helped them—they’re working to ensure that this important work continues for others, benefiting the broader community beyond themselves. It’s a commonly-expressed sentiment for those who volunteer, but it bears repeating: they get back as much as they give with their time and energy.
These two stalwart volunteers also highlight the importance of finding something that matches not just your interests but your skill set. Don’t just jump in and do anything—make it a good match by filling a particular need, as Diane did by helping with fundraising and administrative tasks, or as Scott did by becoming certified as a race official. There are all kinds of behind-the-scenes roles that need to be filled, and it doesn’t have to be a huge time commitment. “Nobody is saying you have to be president [of the PTA],” Scott says. “There could be a one-time event or something else. Volunteer on your own terms.”
And as with any job or passion, it’s important not to get burned out. While you’re helping your community, be sure to take care of yourself, too. For both Diane and Scott, one key to their go-getter spirit is a good night’s rest on their respective Sleep Number beds. Diane recalls trying one in the store: It was the first time that I had no pain when I was laying down. So I ordered one. When it got delivered, that was the first night in many, many months that I had gotten a full night’s sleep without being in pain. So I’ve been sold on Sleep Number for years.”
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