VolunTEAR

16388395_402381286778242_2532715396499416122_n“Power is the ability to do good for others.” – Brooke Astor

“We can’t help everyone, but we can help someone.” Ronald Reagan

“We rise by lifting others.” Robert Ingersall

When was the last time, you gave YOUR time? I don’t mean volunteer for the school bake sale (although that has merit, obviously.) I mean, when was the last time you stopped what you were doing and helped those less fortunate? It’s an important question, one that I too was guilty of until recently.

16406414_402381293444908_3558663631097701737_nI’m a persistent preacher of “Come on, join us! Volunteer! Help us out!” for just about everything. I have decorated more event tables, centerpieces, and gift bags than I can count but it has been quite some time since I went out and truly got my proverbial hands dirty.

Twice in the past 2 weeks, I awoke at the crack of dawn or to be more accurate, in the middle of the night to see a side of my community I have never seen before, at least in this way. I volunteered with Changing Homelessness to take the census of our homeless community at 4am and several days later, volunteered for Generation Works, an morning-long event where I spent hours at Re-threaded; supporting individuals who were victims of human trafficking and the sex trade.

16195204_1245070898922233_3161056198699265221_nI wasn’t expected a life-changing experience, then again who does? Yet, there I found myself overwhelmed with emotions, thoughts and questions. How does one end up this way? Why are so many here affected by mental health disorders? Could I or someone I know end up in this same position? And what else can I do to help?

Giving back to others is one of the best means of self-care. Helping those who are need is a great way to accomplish 2 things: helping them and yourself. Now, I’m not suggesting or even alluding to volunteerism being self-serving. What I am saying is that one of the greatest ways for us to heal is to help our fellow man. I believe the happiest people are those who give of themselves selflessly.

16298797_1245070862255570_4021930766131132168_nSo I ask you to consider this. Find your local homeless shelter. Find your local non-profits. Ask them what volunteer opportunities are available. Sign-up. Get out there. Help others. You all will be better for it.

Spread some sunshine!

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