Did you know there is actually a book in the “Dummies” series that pertains to volunteer work? Obviously, volunteers are far from being dummies. However, it is true that when we reach a point where we feel we have something to offer, choosing which direction to take with our generous energy can be somewhat dumbfounding.
Volunteering is an activity that immerses one into a community within the community. In this sense, it means that upon moving to a new community, the volunteer faces separation from people and things that are close at heart at several levels. However, the volunteer spirit can be an advantage, for those who give freely of their time and skills often have the ability to connect with people with great ease.
In a new community, the volunteer at heart is like the successful stranger at the party. You know, the odd man out someone invited, whom no one knows, yet within moments he is surrounded by attentive listeners and instant friends because he has a knack for connecting. Incidentally, volunteering is a great strategy to turn a shy person into a confident, social magnet. It simply changes how we see the world and how the world responds to us.
According to DoSomething.org, we volunteer to learn something about ourselves, because we are passionate about a cause, to explore career possibilities, to learn and teach new skills, to make someone else’s day or to naturally share with others the gift of our time and knowledge because this is something others have done for us. It is contagious. We learn something about our community in the process; a great deal in fact. Volunteers create and witness the behind-the-scenes acts of heroism, large and small (and always humble) that reveal the goodness of people in general and neighbors in particular.
As you already know if you are a “professional volunteer”, volunteering is not an activity that is reserved mainly for those who have much time on their hands. People who volunteer often juggle family, career, athletic pursuits and multiple volunteer activities at once. Furthermore, it is no longer true that mostly women and 35 to 45-year-olds volunteer. These days, some of the busiest volunteers are either in grade school or in their 80’s and 90’s.
If you are moving to a new community, reaching out to share your skills and knowledge can connect you with your new neighborhood in profound ways. If your next home happens to be in our community, here are some local non-profits that will welcome you like a cherished neighbor even before you actually get to know your way around town.
Also contact the Lamoille Valley Chamber of Commerce for additional information and resources.