So you want to be a volunteer! (Part 2)

As I promised in yesterday’s post, I’d get into more tips on volunteering! :)

1) Do some research.

One good place to start would be Hands On Manila (http://www.handsonmanila.org.ph), a non-profit organization “dedicated to providing members with diverse, flexible volunteer opportunities that address the needs of the community.” This is one of the first sites I visited, and I learned about a lot of worthy and wonderful causes here.

Pay attention to the articles you see in the newspapers or the features you see in magazines and blogs. A lot of great non-profit organizations are highlighted in the media, and you just might hear about a cause that will tug at your heart.

On the right side of my blog page, you’ll see some links under the heading “Pieces of Me”…those are some of the groups that I support because they have causes that are personally close to my heart. ♥

2) Tell your friends about your ‘hunt’.

Maybe some of your friends already do volunteer work but don’t announce it to the public. Or maybe they know of an organization that could really use the time/talent/treasure that you have to offer. At least two of the organizations that I volunteer for at the moment came to my attention through friends, and I’m really thankful they were able to make a match (whether they meant to or not!).

Volunteer Weekend 2009: KC teachers w/the Victory Fort Superheroes!

I love Kids Church! These are my co-teachers with the "Victory Fort Superheroes" during Volunteer Weekend 2009!

3) Sometimes you don’t have to look very far.

Surely, your school, office, village, or church could use your help! One of the groups I love volunteering for is the Kids’ Church (KC) at Victory. Once a month, I get to be a teacher for the Primary class (7 to 9 year olds). It’s really such a privilege to be able to help build and prepare the next generation, not to mention the fact that I just love being with kids! The KC team is amazing, and I’m grateful to be able to serve with them!

4) If you have an idea and no one else is doing it, take a cue from Nike and JUST DO IT.

Don’t let the lack of options stop you. Maybe you’re really meant to start something new! I wrote about my friends Gang Badoy and Carisse Escueta a while back. Read the blog post here, and be amazed at how each woman turned her vision into a reality.

5) Don’t compare yourself to others.

Let’s say that one day you went on an outreach trip and it didn’t turn out to be a very pleasant or fulfilling experience for you. Don’t close your doors forever, and don’t feel bad if you didn’t turn out to be the next Mother Teresa. God created each person to be unique, and maybe your heart just has a burden for another group of people, another place, or another cause. What moves you to tears may not be the same for some of your friends, and vice versa. In this case, it’s better to focus on what you can do, not what you can’t do. Better to move forward than to run away and turn a blind eye forever.

6) Every little step counts.

Many times, it’ll be tempting to just be a spectator. Don’t let procrastination, laziness, busyness, or fear stop you from making a difference. A small step today, a short message of encouragement, a free meal, a couple of hours…every little thing you do can make a difference. Sometimes you may not see it, but you’ll be surprised how one little step of faith you take can change someone’s life.

With that, I’ll leave you with this quote by John Mason from one of my favorite books, The Enemy Called Average:

“Gifts and talents are given to us not only so that we can fulfill to the fullest the call in our own lives, but also so that we can reach the souls attached to those gifts. There are people whose lives are waiting to be affected by what God has placed within you.”

Happy volunteering! :)

Artwork courtesy of http://www.volunteerbc.bc.ca and Victory Fort superheroes photo by Anson Yu

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