Growing up, I spent much of my time volunteering with my family around our home. A few places we volunteered were our local food bank, a homeless shelter for impoverished women and children and a local Bishop’s Storehouse run by our church.
As a teenager, I was not very happy having to get up at 7am to volunteer on Saturday morning. However, my mother thought it to be very important that we serve others. She wanted each of her children to never take anything we had for granted. Now, as a grown woman, I am incredibly grateful for her example and that I can now continue to assist others in various capacities.
If you are a long time reader to the blog you will know that I lost my mother to suicide in 2012. Losing her was one of the hardest things I have ever gone through. However, I was determined to use my mother’s death as a stepping block. I wanted to take something awful and change it into something positive. I wanted to make a difference and save others from making the same decision my Mother had made.
After doing some research, I found the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The foundation is the nation’s largest non-profit dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide. I began volunteering for ‘Out of the Darkness’ community walks. Not only do I participate as a member as someone affected by suicide but also as a volunteer. Over the past few years, I have raised over $3,865 for AFSP. These funds are then used to understand and prevent suicide through research, education, and advocacy.
I recently found out about Reward Volunteers, which is a website that allows you to keep track of volunteer hours. By reporting and logging my hours, AFSP and I are both entered to win prizes. Reward Volunteers is also a great place where I can find other volunteering opportunities in my area. Using the site has been so easy, and it is helpful to have all my volunteer hours in one place for me to view at any time.
If you volunteer––whether on your own or with a school or organization––I highly recommend signing up for Reward Volunteers. Volunteering makes me feel like I am making a difference in my community and the world. Reward Volunteers just adds to that by rewarding organizations and individuals many prizes including cash, vacations, gift cards, gift baskets, and more. It is their way of thanking volunteers for dedicating their time to serve non-profit organizations in their communities.
I hope that if you haven’t volunteered that you will start doing so, especially since April is National Volunteer Month. To see the difference you can make in your community and the world around you is heartwarming. If you need extra convincing some benefits of volunteering include reduced stress, a greater degree of happiness and development of social and professional skills.
Together we can make a difference!