Volunteering For A Cause

Discussion in 'Education & Personal Growth' started by nuss, Sep 3, 2021.

  1. nuss

    nuss Platinum IL'ite

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    Some of you might know that I have been volunteering for the Foster youth program. I started volunteering earlier this year and it has been an incredible journey. I truly believe that we find ourselves when we open our hearts and homes to others. Connecting to others comes with a heart filled with self-love, a true path to happiness.

    When I started volunteering, I didn't know how impactful it will be. I didn't plan to volunteer. I thought I was too busy to volunteer and always thought of volunteering as a post-retirement thing. Then one day I ran into my kids' former daycare director and currently a Human Service Case Worker with Child Protective Services in our county. She asked me if I could help a few foster youths with college applications. I knew that volunteering with kids and youth requires a fair amount of background checks. I have written letters of reference for my students for volunteering with the Big Brother Big Sister group and those letters were very detailed. I have always received a follow-up phone call about these letters to go into more detail about the personality and ethics of these students wanting to volunteer. So I knew it wasn't that I will be meeting the teenagers the next day and it gave me some time to think. When I mentioned the possibility of volunteering to my husband he casually said that- well, someday you can volunteer, right now you have more than enough on your plate. He was right but I felt compelled to do something to help my community and said yes to volunteering.

    For volunteering with Foster care, as I assumed, there was quite a bit of paperwork for screening and background check. I met with the Director for the foster care program (Social worker) via zoom. She walked me through the requirements. Then I formally applied to be a volunteer. We discussed several ways I could volunteer and I decided on the 'Volunteer with the On-Call (VPS)' program. The VPS program is specifically suited for volunteers with limited time. The commitment is a minimum of 12 hours (1 h a month) a year. After screening and background check, I was matched with two high school juniors and one senior, all interested in STEM education. I have met with them more than once a month and it is such a rewarding experience.

    I am writing this post not to share my volunteering journey but to encourage those who might be thinking about it but have been on the fence. The procedure for volunteering for any place that requires interactions with children such as schools, foster care, etc. is pretty similar. You will need a background check and commitment to a minimum number of hours. In most cases, you will have an additional interview. You can choose to volunteer for a one-time special event or a continuing program.

    With hurricanes and wildfires raging all over the country, there is a great need for volunteers. A friend of mine asked me to volunteer for wildfire evacuees but this time I decided not to because as much as I would love to help I also want to spend time with my family. If any of you are interested and feel you can spare a few hours, please think about volunteering in your community! There are so many other opportunities and I am sure there is something that you would connect to such as:

    Girls On Run
    Parks and Recreation
    Tutoring
    Animal Rescue centers (My friend, a dog lover, volunteers for SPCA)
    Community Gardens
    School Lunch help
    Neighborhood cleanup groups (my kids participate in these weekend projects)
    Your local UnitedWays will have a list of events
    And many more.....
     
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  2. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    @nuss,

    I am so happy to hear that you went through a lot of effort to volunteer for the Foster Youth Program. Most importantly, how much we learn from such experiences is amazing. It is such a fulfilling experience when we volunteer those who really need love and care. I volunteer with the Hospice to provide services to patients and families of the patients. In addition, I teach the children in age group 12-17 about moral values regularly and these classes are well received. In fact, these classes were intended to be only for the children in our city but I noticed that the parents from other cities volunteered their children to join my classes.
     
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  3. nuss

    nuss Platinum IL'ite

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    You are so right! We learn so much from our experiences! Hospice service must be so meaningful. I am so impressed with the community service that you are involved in: you found ways to help both the older generation as well as younger. The children must be benefitting so much (even though they might not yet know the full impact) from your classes. I teach a course in Ethics and Professionalism (not volunteer but part of my program) and I always find these ethical and moral topics so fascinating. How much unethical stuff has happened in the past (and even today) and the dilemma it may present at times but it is always important to have integrity so that we can sleep peacefully at night!
     
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