[GUEST POST] Being An Adult Sucks. Volunteering Makes It Better.

by Heather Joseph, Guest Blogger

Being an adult is hard sometimes. Day to day we make time for work because the bills have to be paid. We make time for the gym because a you want to look good and be healthy. We make time for our friends because they keep us sane; and well, a full social calendar means time to forget the stresses of being an adult.  But yet, even with all the things that keep you busy, there’s still one thing you should be doing….you should be volunteering. Marian Edelman said, “service to others is the rent we pay for our time here on earth.” So you too  should make the time because you know it’s important and makes a difference. But why should you really make time to volunteer? Will the world end if you don’t?

“Volunteering has an enormous impact on the health and well being of communities internationally and domestically.”

When you think about volunteering, it’s very easy to think that it is just something nice for you to do. Volunteering will give you good karma, a warm and fuzzy feeling, and believe that all is right with the world. And while this is very true, there is a bigger and deeper influence associated with volunteering. Volunteering has an enormous impact on the health and well being of communities internationally and domestically. Volunteers build homes, clean-up parks, provide food and clothing after terrible earthquake, etc- you get my point.

We, yes we because I am surely included in this too, have a considerable responsibility to volunteer because the driving force for charitable organization’s survival is: time, talent and treasure of their supporters. Although the question often presented is why should we be volunteering, it should really be why are we not volunteering more?  Volunteering builds healthy, safe, nurturing environments so that nonprofit programs can work to their fullest potential. Volunteering is the promise of a better life for someone else.  Bet you didn’t think about it that way, huh?

The work that you put in doesn’t end when you go home. It really just begins. Here’s a scenario to help put it in perspective: You take the time to volunteer for let’s say an hour at a food pantry stocking shelves. The next day a family comes in and receives the food and supplies that you stocked. Voila! That family has now been provided with food for a week. Simply, an hour of your day becomes a week’s worth of difference in someone else’s life. See! Mini steps don’t really seem that impactful until you turn around realized how far you’ve walked.

The best part of volunteering is that you don’t have to go very far to find ways to volunteer. Do it with your job—call it a team building exercise to get brownie points with you supervisor. Or maybe at your church? Churches can always use tutors after school. What about with your Fraternity or Sorority? Even if you’re an alumni/nae, that’s what grad chapters are for! Or simply do it with your friends. Swap ‘just us girls’ brunch for a brunch with just us girls AND young ladies who can use your guidance.

When you make the time to do all the things that come with being an adult, you can officially call yourself grown. Volunteer! Adding one more thing doesn’t have to stress you out; especially when it’s making things better for someone else. You can log on to www.Idealist.org or www.VolunteerMatch.org or call your local city to find out the volunteer opportunities nearest you.

Heather A. Joseph is a seasoned volunteer recruitment and management professional. Heather co-chairs the National Advisory Council for Hip Hop 4 Life and is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Heather has participated Volunteer Management Consult at the Baruch Consulting Day, advising Executive Directors and other nonprofit administrators on the effective running of a volunteer program. Heather received a BA in English and Sociology from Binghamton University and a MS in Nonprofit Management from The New School University. Heather was selected for Council for Urban Professionals Fellow.

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