Volunteers: Lessons I’ve learned

Cake with "Thank you volunteers" written on it

Altered image. San Jose Library, Flickr. CC license.

As I reflect back on more than 20 years of working alongside volunteers, without a doubt, some of my most notable lessons in life come from those who give so freely of their time and efforts. In celebration of National Volunteer Week, I thought it would be most appropriate to highlight some of the valuable lessons I’ve gathered along the way.

  • There are many volunteers who have amazing stories to share. Yet their best virtue is their gift for listening to others.
  • I am often humbled by those who have suffered and experienced great loss. It is their ability to stand with such strength and give with such heart that leaves me in awe.
  • When it comes to volunteering, age isn’t a factor. It’s more about the heart.
  • Volunteerism is the opportunity to be a part of something that bring all walks of life together with common goals and meaningful purpose in mind.
  • There are indeed angels in this world. We are often touched by them — just ask any Parenting Program staff member and they will confirm that this is true.
  • Amidst stressful days and questionable times, I’ve been lifted and held by volunteers. I continue to be amazed by the magnitude of heart and compassion that volunteers can exude.
  • From my student volunteers, I learned to dream big and to keep marching towards your goals. Persevere and you will succeed.
  • Superheroes do exist! They may not wear capes, but I see them out in our community and at the hospital regularly.
  • Be open to change. It cultivates innovation and creativity. Implementing our Parent Talk Blog and Facebook page are just a couple of examples of how our volunteers encouraged me to push the envelope and think outside the box.
  • It has been demonstrated to me over and over again that one person can indeed make a difference. At the top of my list is the story of a single mother who literally changed the course of this program. Thousands of families benefitted from her generous donations.
  • I am compelled to give more and do better each and every day, because I am surrounded by those who give more and do better each and every day.
  • The best way to get something done: ask a volunteer. When we work together, we can achieve so much more.

From my heart to yours … thank you for your continued dedication and abundant contributions!

Happy National Volunteer Week!

– Deanna Robb, Parenting Program Director

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