Pay It Forward by Volunteering

Pay It Forward by Volunteering
There is a lot of buzz about paying it forward to make the world a gentler and kinder place. The idea is when you receive a kindness from someone, thank them and pay it forward with a much needed or unexpected kindness for someone else.

Don't wait for good deeds and kind favors to come to you, take the pay it forward idea a step further by becoming a community volunteer. If you are already a volunteer, this is a good time to get your family members involved. You should know that volunteering is not just for adults, children can give back to their community also. They can volunteer and have fun doing it. If the right approach is used, volunteering can be a family affair.

How Do I Get Started?

You can start your search by asking a friend, neighbor, a church member or contacting someone at your child's school. Don't forget the Internet, you will be surprised to find how many volunteer opportunities are awaiting you.

Keep Your Eyes Open For Local Events and Venues

Volunteer to work at a local festival. Take tickets, sell foods or souvenirs, be a guide. This is an easy way to give back to your community. You may be able to get your whole family involved, ask the person who is managing the community affair if there are any tasks where children can help. Volunteer at a museum or State art gallery; you may get a chance to attend an opening art exhibition or gallery opening just by taking tickets or pointing the way to restrooms. Many of the arts are sustained in part by gifts, grants and endowments--every donation, including the gift of your time, is always appreciated. The rewards you will receive are immeasurable.

If you have thought about doing volunteer work but not sure which way to go, try arts and humanities. There are countless ways to give time to the arts if that is where your passion lies. When you are shown to your seat at your local community theatre, 9 times out of 10 the person guiding you is a volunteer. People who volunteer to be ushers at theaters get to see great performances for free. Once everyone is seated and the lights are lowered, volunteers are often allowed to sit in a designated area and watch the performance.

Call your local hospital to see if they need volunteers, when nurses are busy, it can be difficult to stop and deliver flowers to a patients room. Does your hospital have a book cart or rolling library? Some patients would be delighted to be able to read a book or magazine, but don’t have any way of getting these items. Check out the local nursing homes, most are happy to have volunteers come in to talk or read to residents who do not have family or anyone to visit them. Visiting a lonely nursing home resident a few hours a week will give him something to look forward to.

Doing Well By Doing Good

"Do well by doing good" is not just a bumper-sticker phrase. Volunteering can add clout to your resume, help you launch business by doing something you love, or simply bring you a wealth of new friends.

I leave you with a word of caution about volunteering--it can be exciting, but addictive.

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