Volunteering - a way of life

In today's economic climate, money is scarce and jobs are very hard to come by. However, life goes on and basic needs still have to be met.

It is not only citizens who are struggling; governments have also fallen on hard times. Deloitte, one of the world's largest accounting firms reported in June 2012 that the American government`s debt is close to $16 trillion, the biggest in the history of the world.

In these tough times we have to remember the immortal words of former President John F. Kennedy when he appealed to the nation in his inaugural address by saying. "Ask not what the country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country."

The logical response to the call for action is to volunteer -- generally a win-win situation. Volunteering not only benefits the receiving organization, which gets a relief from its financial burden and help in getting its work done; it also helps the volunteers themselves, who gain experience and the satisfaction that they are making a difference.

To those who feel that they have nothing to offer, I say think again. As we go along our life's journey, we acquire skills without even knowing it. Those who live in an extended family have skills they can use in a rehabilitation or comfort care facility. Those who love books can help at the library or Friends of the Library. In short, if you have two strong arms and a willingness to work, then you are a perfect candidate for volunteering.

To those who do not believe that they can make a difference, I say think again. Anyone can call the numerous non-profit organizations, and they will be welcomed with open arms. For example, the family shelter at the Crossroads Mission is currently home to 25 homeless children.

The volunteer community is full of wonderful people, many who can give pearls of wisdom free of charge. As one volunteer said to my 14-year-old son when he volunteered for the Friends of the Library, "Well son, if you make a mistake then we'll dock your pay."

In short, you get on-the-job training without the stress. Volunteering also looks good on your resume and can often lead to a position within the organization as staff get to know you.

As you can see, the benefits of volunteering are many. You just need to go for it, and you will be pleasantly surprised by how good you will feel.

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