5 ways to make volunteering more meaningful
Whether you're a brand new volunteer with Little Brothers - Friends of the Elderly, or you've volunteered with us for many years, we want to make sure that your experience is the best part of your day. Here are some suggestions to help ensure you glean the most from your volunteering.
1. Engage with an elder. If you're assisting at one of our social events, it's easy to get caught up in the preparations and details. Take the time to have a conversation with an elder, to make eye contact and to let them know they're welcome. Your presence and caring is what our isolated elders crave; and chances are you, yourself, will be even more uplifted by the exchange.
2. Go with the flow. There's always a chance that volunteer projects won't go exactly as planned. Instead of panicking or being disappointed, let the challenge be an opportunity to grow and learn. Oftentimes those challenges are insignificant when compared to the challenges faced by the people we serve.
3. Avoid distractions. As hard as it may be, try to leave behind your workday, the smart phone and the to-do list. They will all be there when you're done. While you're volunteering, give it all you've got.
4. Expand your horizons. One of the great benefits of volunteering is the new people you meet -- including other volunteers, LBFE staff members or community partners. Ask others what drew them to LBFE's mission -- their answer may give you a new perspective you hadn't considered. Consider stepping up to a position with more responsibility by serving as an LBFE event coordinator or on an action team.
5. Appreciate what you do. Even if your project may seem mundane -- helping with office work or driving an elder to an event -- you're doing what's needed. Because of your generosity, you're helping to create and sustain a better way of life for our elders. You deserve to feel proud of yourself for making a difference for those we serve!
LBFE Among Volunteers, Feb 2013
Find more great articles in back issues of Among Volunteers here!