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Unsung Hero: Volunteers

Joined: 4/28/2014
Posts: 18
I was surprised to hear my daughter comment to a colleague, at a charity dinner, that one of the reasons she became a fundraiser was because of me. I didn’t realize my volunteering had stood out to her. It was just one of the things that I did as a stay-at-home home, along with providing the sparkling white socks that she remembers so vividly (and says she can’t match).

After mulling it over a bit, I realize my volunteer activities stood out against the routine of daily life; and, that she didn’t see any of the other mothers on the block volunteer. If they did help out when I led a Brownie and a Girl Scout troop (at the same time), it was under duress from me.

I started by volunteering at a parent-participant pre-school. I then volunteered at my younger daughter’s kindergarten, helped out in the school office during the elementary years, and even attempted to tutor a boy in times tables (pretty much a disaster).

My last official gig was a while ago, but it was one of the most satisfying. I saw a notice in the newspaper for volunteers for a Tot Line sponsored by Family Services. I called and asked what the criteria would be for volunteering. They asked my about background. I gave them a rundown, and ended with the fact that I had been married for over twenty years and had two daughters in college.

After an interview they gave me a reference manual. Most of the time the mothers just needed a little help working through the problem. They were often overwhelmed by advice from relatives and opposition from spouses. I tried to give then the assurance that they were generally on the right track.

My daughter has been in fundraising for twenty-five years, and I now see how many unsung hero-volunteers are out there. The wealthy who donate millions and the
professional fundraisers and staff are important. However, the meat and potatoes of many of the charities are the volunteers who lead troops, assist and take in foster kids, adopt and feed animals at the zoo, build houses on their vacation, and go to countries to aid in hurricane and earthquake relief. This year they helped abate the spread of Ebola.

Most of the time volunteering is a straight forward activity. You mentor a child, head a scout troop or volunteer for the bake sale at school, then go home and have dinner with your family. However, natural disasters and epidemics call for extraordinary challenges and sacrifices from these unsung heroes. They take vacation time, endure vaccinations, leave their families, often paying their own way, and then head off to a foreign country for a couple of weeks. And sadly, this last year some of them became deathly ill and were medically evacuated home. With extraordinary care all volunteers from America survived. They were so important that Time named them “Person of the Year”. And I roundly second that!
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Comment by warren

Joined: 6/22/2011
Posts: 293
Very nice. All I can do is second your thoughts.
Posted: Wednesday, February 11, 2015 4:02:05 PM
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