photo: people with their hands in the center of a circle

Ready, Set Go- Make a Difference By Volunteering

Posted on February 19th, 2013 By Casey Halvorson

How often do we need to ready or prepare ourselves to accomplish tasks that need to be done; even those tasks which we have accomplished over and over?  When we contemplate a new volunteering experience we can become overwhelmed with thoughts like, gosh I’m not sure I can make a difference, the problem seems so big.  The bigger the problem the more we allow indifference to creep in.  We need to READY ourselves to just say no to indifference, SET up an appointment to discuss the best fit for our talents and GO out to make a difference by volunteering.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2011, approximately 64.3 million people volunteered. 64 million Americans saying no to indifference and yes to making a difference. Were you one of those?  I know that last year at The Center for Youth and Family Solutions 14 people said no to indifference and yes to making a difference by volunteering 504 hours dedicated to mentoring and tutoring our youth, that 101 people volunteered 1148 hours in our Afterschool Programs and that 25 individuals made a difference in the life of a senior by spending 488 hours volunteering in our New Day Senior Services Program.  In these three programs alone 140 individuals committed to getting ready, getting set and going out to help others.

What’s that…. you don’t want to do this alone?

Consider this…. form a group to volunteer.   A work group of 8 from Caterpillar made our office look more welcoming with 24 hours of service; we had a group of 10 students from Bradley University volunteering 30 hours for building maintenance. Volunteers with The Forgotten Initiative, have made a difference in the lives of so many of our clients by offering assistance in revamping our visiting rooms, by making a safe and home like environment for supervised visits, by doing general repairs to our Foster Parent Homes who without their assistance could not have made the needed repairs, by comforting those in need in times of grief and loss,  and by offering staff a time to celebrate their accomplishments at a recognition luncheon.  This group has an uncanny way of getting ready by creating a mission of bringing joy and purpose to the foster care community, by setting a plan to achieve each project and by going forth and committing themselves and others to achieving that goal.

fi volunteers

Volunteers from The Forgotten Initiative gather after completing a visiting room makeover through their Project Sunshine program

Each individual and group decision to get ready, get set and go has made an impact on people struggling with life’s challenges.  Building on each other’s strengths empowers individuals, families and communities.  Share with others how you have made a difference in someone’s life.  Let me know if you are ready to set yourself up to go forth with making a difference for the Center for Youth and Family Solutions by contacting me, Sue Hirschman at (309) 323-6632.

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