Volunteering is Something We All Should Do
I did not grow up with a family of devoted volunteers. My father traveled a lot for his job, and when he was home, he was working or resting. My mother did not like to participate in group activities. While she enjoyed going to Sisterhood fundraisers at our synagogue, organizing them was not her thing. She enjoyed the rewards of her teaching career, and since she worked in a private school for significantly less pay, she probably felt like a volunteer.
On the other hand, I could not wait to become a volunteer. When I worked full-time as an elementary school teacher, my favorite people were from the PTA. These dedicated women came into my classroom as Room Moms to help with anything I needed. They ran committees so our school had the money for assemblies, books, and other necessary materials the frequently cut school budget would not allow. As a teacher, I appreciated their hard work. I could not wait to be a PTA mom myself some day.
Excuses for Not Volunteering
I Don't Have Time
Over the years, I have heard excuses from people as to why they do not volunteer. For the most part, they are bogus.
I know all too well that there are times in our lives when helping on a large scale is just not possible. When my twins were younger, I had no help. I could not physically be at my daughter’s school to attend parties or do Room Mom activities, as my younger ones were not welcome. Even night events were impossible for me to be a volunteer. I had to rely on the kindness of the parents of my daughter’s friends to take her to events because I had no babysitter and my husband was gone 70 hours a week.
However, what I could do was be the QSP volunteer for my daughter’s Girl Scout troop. I collected money and sent in the forms, all things that could be done at home. At our synagogue, I could help at youth group events held on the weekend because my husband was home to take care of our little ones. My assistance was small, but it was still welcome.
If you are caring for a sick spouse, an aging parent, or are working two jobs, then no, at this stage of life you may not have the time to devote to a cause.
But maybe you have a half hour?
Did you know that 100% of the students benefit from the efforts of 5% of the PTA parents who volunteer? No one says you have to devote your life to your child’s school, but how about a half hour at an event? If you are going to the school fair with your kids, get off your phone, be a role model and run a game for a half-hour shift. You might actually enjoy yourself!
If you do not want to chair a committee, can you give an hour before the event to help set it up? Can you make copies? Buy the refreshments? (you are at the store anyway for your own groceries.)
Even the smallest amount of time and effort is appreciated. It also helps prevent burn out from those who are able to give more time. Opportunities to volunteer are all around you, days, nights, and on weekends.
More Excuses for Not Volunteering
I know people who do not volunteer because it interferes with their lives of lunches, workouts and manicures. These are the people who need to volunteer the most, as they have the time and obviously do not need the income from a job.
Making the world a better place, part of the Girl Scout promise, is something we all should strive to do. I can honestly say that sometimes I do not want to go out on a cold winter night to attend a meeting, I would rather stay at home in my pajamas.
And sometimes I just wish someone else would pick up the torch and run with it. I am tired.
But when I do get myself out the door among my friends who are working with me towards a common goal, I feel better. I am thinking beyond myself and know that I am making the world better than how I found it.
And speaking of friends, sometimes you need to ask a friend to join your committee. Maybe they are afraid to jump into your territory, maybe they are under the impression that their help is not wanted.
Many hands make light work. One PTA mom said long ago that she was tired of other women seeing the organization as one big clique. It wasn’t…it was just the same ten moms doing everything! More help was wanted and needed!
If you are new to an area and want to meet new people, volunteering a a great place to find friends, as you will be meeting like-minded people.