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Volunteer: Small word; big meaning.

1456867473 Community HelpAs often happens with my blogs or posts, it usually takes some life event to ‘turn the light on’. Life lessons are the best lessons.

Case in point. I was at my car club meeting (the organizing committee for our annual car show) and, once again, for the most part, I see the same familiar faces. Having volunteered at one thing or another for almost 50 years, I know that this is, sadly, the norm.

We are a passionate committee. We are all there because we believe in the cause. Yes, it’s a car show. But, we are doing it for charity. We have a cause and we sure love writing that cheque to our chosen charity when it’s all said and done. Getting to that stage of making the donation takes work; lots of work. Sometimes too much work for too few.

As I was driving back from the meeting I couldn’t help but ponder on what it truly means to volunteer.

The dictionary describes it as “to offer (oneself or one's services) for some undertaking or purpose”; derived from the Latin, voluntarius; “voluntary, of one’s free will”.  Well, I suppose that is an apt description. But, for anyone that has ever volunteered, it surely reduces the entire experience to a seemingly minimal effort and outcome.

As I said, I have volunteered for almost 50 years. You name it; I have given time and sweat to it. Why? Well certainly not for notoriety or gain; not even for a pat on the back. I did it because it felt good. It made my heart swell and it made me appreciative for what I have in life. And, most importantly, I did it for the cause. For that dog that was saved from being euthanized, the cat that now won’t have to live on the street, the teenager suffering from mental illness, the person suffering from cancer; the list goes on and on. This is why we volunteer. We do it to hopefully give others a little bit of hope.

So, I ask this. Is it too much to ask a person to volunteer a bit of time? I’m not asking someone to donate a kidney or build a new wing on the hospital. Just a few hours out of a year. I know we are all busy. But, I can’t believe that we are all so busy that we can’t find 8 hours out of 8760 hours in a year. That’s .09% of your time. A drop in the bucket.

What if the shoe happened to be on the other foot? Would you not appreciate knowing there were countless people out there; giving time for your cause? Of course you would. So, today, I ask you to put the shoe on the other foot, step up to the plate and give.

I guarantee that you will reap the rewards tenfold. You will feel amazing; tired, yes, but amazing. You will be so proud of your efforts. You will go to bed, exhausted, and sleep well knowing that your .09% helped in ways you can only imagine.