Getting the Concept of Volunteerism

Yesterday I had the distinct privilege of carting four teens to volunteer work in northwest Harris County, and I do mean privilege.  These kids are involved with PALs at their high school (The Peer Assistance and Leadership Program), and needed service hours to turn in this week.  Cypress Creek EMS was having a fun fair up at their center, and the kids had volunteered to help with face painting and games.  Those kids were actually excited about helping their community…

Dropped them off, then came back hours later to pick them up.  They were laughing, and clutching a cake they’d won, sacks of goodies vendors had sold them, and were stoked that they’d made their quota of volunteer work in such a happy place, with happy adults who were excited to have had them there.  We stopped by Orange Leaf for frozen yogurt, and I listened to those wonderful kids as they laughed and joked.  Happy kids who want to help their community?  Crazy, right?

I told my husband earlier how proud I was that our kids “got” volunteerism, and that we weren’t making them do it.  Four generations of serving the community and church run through both our families, and our kids couldn’t have done it without example.  Through leadership at school boards, church boards, Sunday School teaching, altar guild directing, Cub Scouts, Rotary Club, Lions Club, fundraising at the United Way, employer driven volunteer days, even making sacramental wine and moonshine still busting (and yes, that was the same guy), our families have witnessed what volunteerism accomplishes.

We belong to a growing Episopal mission in northwest Harris County, and it has had its own growing pains with volunteering.  There are those who volunteer because no one else will, then there are those who are content to let others do everything.  This is where the burnout and resentment come in, and there’s no easy answer.  The people who truly “get” volunteering know that giving means doing it for the betterment of everyone, not just individuals.

The pretty flowers in the church, the nice music, the sacramental bread made by hand, the mowed fields.  Just some of the nice things at church done by volunteers who get, in this case, that giving doesn’t mean just money, but the gift of very precious time. Those PAL kids get volunteerism and the connection of themselves with others, and they like it.

So thankful we had family members who showed us how, so we could be one of many to show our children how the world should be…


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