Do you volunteer?
I have found that whenever I take time to help others, asking for nothing in return, some unexpected and amazing things happen.
For instance, several years ago I volunteered for a group called Chicago Greeters, obviously located in Chicago. They offered free tours to anyone visiting the city and matched them with a knowledgeable tour guide – that was me. It’s an amazing service: http://chicagogreeter.com/. If you are ever visiting Chicago, I highly recommend it.
Well, during the two years I volunteered there, on one day, and one day only, I worked with a young woman and we became instant friends. Now, ten years later, we still remain very close. Her friendship was worth any amount of money I could have been paid. And as the commercial says – our friendship is PRICELESS!
Another great experience I had was with an organization called H.O.M.E. (Housing Opportunities and Maintenance for the Elderly) also located in Chicago: https://www.homeseniors.org/. They asked me to help a 90 year old woman who was depressed and she needed someone to keep her company. They asked me to read to her, play a game with her or simply visit and keep her company. I spent three years with Geri Franklin before she passed away, and in the time we spent together, she shared with me a love and wisdom that has literally changed my life.
So now I have moved to a new city. Unfortunately, I haven’t found a place to volunteer and I’m getting antsy. It’s time – time to give back and make a difference in someone else’s life.
So that’s why I’m asking you – do you volunteer? What experiences have you found to be the most valuable? What organizations would you recommend? What are your stories of volunteering? I’d love to know.