People get the wrong idea that volunteering will take up so much of their time. No, because there are so many avenues that you can volunteer in. To give you a couple of examples, I took a trip to Staten Island to visit the Botanical Gardens and on walking towards the gardens I noticed a place that I thought, was an art exhibit. But it turned out to be a place that they give art classes. While talking with the women there, she mentioned about volunteering. I told her that I didn't live in the area and it would be too much of a distance for me to travel on a regular basis. She proceeded to tell me that they had this mailing that needed to go out and she wanted to know if I had an hour to spare. Well, I did and I ended up staying for two hours, just to help with the mailing. She was very appreciative and I went on to go to the gardens. To help out just took a couple of hours. Then there was the food bank. They needed people to come in and separate the food that had come in. I went on a Saturday, mid-day and stayed until it ended. That just took one half a day. Habitat for Humanity was so much fun. It was just one day and we got a lot done. I just wanted to show you that there is such a variety out there to volunteer for and time required is at your discretion.
The point is, volunteering need not be looked at as huge. It is finding the right match for the time that you have to give. I mentioned that I am a volunteer at the Turtle Back Zoo. Well, that requires a more scheduled amount of time, which I was all too happy to give since one of my main loves are animals.
One other reason that people do not volunteer is not knowing where to go or how to start their search. At my former place of employment, that was one great thing about the company. They believed in giving back to the community and beyond. I truly enjoyed all of the volunteering and committees that I was a part of. That experience expanded my volunteer list of opportunities to give back. It also built leadership skills.
For me, I centered on things that I love. But throughout my life I always volunteered in some way with the elderly. I've always enjoyed being around the elderly because they are the history and knowledge that we could learn from. They can make us smarter in life's decisions, if we only would listen to their advice. They can save us a lot of heartache. But unfortunately, not enough of us want to listen to avoid the pain. And they have wonderful stories to tell of their life journey, which can be very enjoyable to listen to.
I volunteered to help the seniors with their knitting and crochet at a senior center. It was fun. They had me laughing all the time. One of the seniors wanted to make a two piece bikini bathing suit, another one wanted to make a mini skirt. They would shout out to hide their work when I was coming around because they knew I like ripping things out. So they would make a joke out of it. But they had a lot of fun and it gave them something enjoyable to do.
With knitting and crochet there are many ways to volunteer your time, energy, and finished items to different charity organizations. Giving back is a real reward that makes you feel so good.
At the knitting groups there are different items that are donated. There are the preemie blankets, hats, booties for the hospitals and other organizations. You can make an afghan, hat or scarf for the homeless or less fortunate. Coats & Clark sponsored a scarf gathering project. They wanted to donate 5,000 scarves to the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Idaho. I made four scarves and sent them off. It was such a great feeling to know that I had a part in making someone happy to recieve an extra thank you gift for their efforts. The opportunity is out there, you just have to tap into it.
The knitting/crochet group on Thursday are making squares for at least two afghans to give to a charity. It just takes one square to make a difference. But as knitters and crocheters, we just can't do one. As our fingers start we are driven to do more. As of this month, we are starting with 12 squares. The deadline is October 1st, and then it is time to seam them together. That part is not everyone's favorite, including me, but seeing the end result will be worth it. I will give updates as the squares pile up.
For knitting and crochet you can check with a local knit group, hospital or senior center for a couple of ideas. I am including a charity listing at www.bellaonline.com/subjects/206.asp that I found on line. Just do your research on the charity that you choose to make sure what they have been doing and how successful they have been.
Have fun giving back!