Thursday, January 24, 2013

{Guest Post} How To Volunteer and Find Time for It

Hey guys!
Thought I'd introduce you to my first guest post!

Her Name is Naomi Esterly and she just had a new baby! She’s also a mother to two twin boys and a wife to an army man. In between her duties as a mom and wife she’s also a volunteer in her local community center and a freelance writer for 1800WheelChair.ComShe is giving us some great ideas on how to find the time to volunteer.

Take it away Naomi!

Volunteers in Missouri—Fall 2011

Being a mom is one of the busiest jobs in the world. Finding time to volunteer for anyone other than the family can be a challenge for any mother who is interested in helping the community at large. With the demands of the family taking priority, how can a mother squeeze out time to volunteer her services in her community?

Find the Volunteer Needs

The first step in volunteering is finding out what the needs are. This means doing some research on organizations in your community and finding out what needs and opportunities those organizations have. Matching volunteer needs with personal interests and talents is ideal as that allows you to use what you know and what you are interested in to help others. Volunteering in a capacity that fits your personality will help you get the most fulfillment and enjoyment out of your experiences and help ensure you will continue long-term as a volunteer.

What Are You Interested In?

Think about what you are personally interested in. Do you like to work with children or animals? Are you interested in helping with social programs or activities at your place of worship? Perhaps you are interested in promoting literacy or some other cause. Consider what you would most like to spend your volunteer time doing then narrow down organizations who have need for your interests and talents.

Potential Volunteer Needs

Even in small communities there are plenty of opportunities for volunteers to help. If you attend a church or religious center, you will likely find many needs available. Local libraries often have Friends groups that organize activities such as book sales, programs for children and general help around the library as well as other tasks. Homeless shelters and soup kitchens often need volunteers to help with preparing and serving meals as well as sorting and handing out other types of donations to those seeking help. 

Local animal shelters are organizations that always need assistance. Some shelters need volunteers to help with socializing animals, cleaning cages, answering telephones, working the front desk and more. 

Are you interested in working with senior citizens? Check with your local senior center or nursing home about volunteer needs. Some nursing homes and senior centers may simply need volunteers to come and visit with seniors. Home delivery of hot meals ("Meals on Wheels") organizations always need volunteers to deliver meals to home bound seniors. 

Your child's school is a great place to find volunteer opportunities. The advantage of volunteering at school is that you don't need to work around your child's schedule as the needs should already be in sync with the school calendar. 

Finding Time

One of the most difficult issues about volunteering is finding the time. For a busy mom, squeezing in volunteer time can be almost impossible and most people assume volunteering means a long-term commitment requiring large blocks of time. This isn't always the case and if you really wish to volunteer in some way, there are ways to make it work. 

Irregular volunteering is one way to help out without taking too much time away from home and family. Once you have identified an organization to help with, determine what irregular needs they have. Some irregular needs may be occasional donation collections or drop-offs, fund raising events, special activities, holiday needs and more. 

Some volunteer opportunities can even be done from home. Making phone calls, organizing events, online research and writing press releases are just a few examples of ways you can help out as a volunteer while not cutting into family time. 

Some volunteer opportunities can also be accomplished as a family activity. This means your time doesn't have to be taken from your family and you can teach your children the joys and blessings of volunteering. 

Choose Wisely

However you choose to spend your volunteer time, remember to make the most of every moment. Prioritize your family first and outside activities second. Spending time helping others will not only enrich your life but it can also make you a better mother as you feed your soul and touch the lives of strangers.

Thanks Naomi! This is great advice!

1 comment:

Kelly Ann said...

What a great guest post - I always want to volunteer but I can never find the time, grr!

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