Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Thoughts on Volunteering - A Personal Post


As strange as it sounds, my one and only desire before the Chinese New Year arrived was that I want to devote more of my time for volunteering during this year.
 
I started volunteering sporadically a few years ago, when my friend and a few of her friends gathered together to do something for the old folks living in rented apartments in Chinatown. We were not part of any organization, it was just group of friends who came together to do this. This activity meant a lot to me personally because my grand aunt lived there (she has since passed away) - but I have not started doing any volunteering work then when she was still alive.
 
I remembered that she would receive food rations regularly from organizations as well as groups of volunteers (like what my friends and I did). Sometimes, organizations would also take them out for meals like dim sum on weekends. I guess I wanted to do my part to give back to the society as my grand aunt is one of the lucky recipients who was being well taken care of when she lived there. My friends and I did this about 3 times a year, but it fizzled out when the organizers got busy with other priorities.
 
But that was a good starting point.
 
I was still looking out for good causes that I feel passionate about to volunteer and again last year, when a friend introduced me to an organization that packs food rations for needy families.  I’ve since taken part in that regularly.  As an added bonus, I also treat it as a good workout, since it is very hands-on and manual.   It is fun too, to be part of a large group coming together to do something to help others.
  
The reason that I want to devote more time to volunteering: 
 
It came into my mind that the older I get, the time I have while being on the earth gets shorter.  And I don’t mean that in a depressing way, as it helps me to clarify what is truly important and meaningful.
 
This is turn, has made me think about how much time I spend doing activities that really matter to me on the deepest of levels.  I’m committed into carving out some time from my life to do something meaningful, to help others in small tiny steps.  I feel lucky to be able to give.
 
Next week, I will take part in a "trial" volunteering session for something that may potentially be on-going for a long term basis. I'm still not sure exactly what I will be doing - but deep in my heart I am excited as the work done in the organization is something I believe in strongly. I filled up an application before Chinese New Year, and when I didn't hear back, I wrote in again, expressing my desire. When I received an email saying they needed a volunteer, I was thrilled because I know it will be for a good cause and my time there will be of a good use.
 
Sometimes people want to volunteer, but they don't know where/how to start or where to go to. Perhaps many people were like me, trying to find something that they feel passionate about. It took me a while to find something that I feel strongly about. I feel lucky that I can put some of my skills into good use.
 
If you are still looking, don't give up - keep searching for something that excites you and that you feel strongly for.
 
Meanwhile, I am looking forward to this wonderful opportunity and journey.

3 comments:

Sans! said...

I think volunteering gives the volunteer as much as the people they help, if not more :).

Thank you for sharing, Pei Li.:)

Jacqueline said...

Dearest sweet Pei Li, this is such an inspiring post!! I have done some volunteering work a few years back and i must say at the end of the day. I feel inspired and fruitful that i contribute a little to the society even if it's just a small little part! It has been a while since i did that and this bring back so much good memories. I am so happy to see you perusing this part of your dream. You are such a role model sweet friend and i hope your trial" volunteering session go really well! Have a beautiful weekend and love to you!

jacqueline
http://jqlinesocuteithurts.typepad.com/

Jackie said...

Thank you for such a wonderful and inspiring post Pei Li. Before my health went south and my mobility became challenged, I was very much into volunteering in my children's schools and the community. But I have passed that volunteering "spirit" onto them and their friends, they do lots with local organizations now too and I really believe it has helped them feel empowered and self confident to be able to help others and make someone else's life a little better. It's kind of like, thinking outside oneself, to put your stuff aside for a while to help someone else. :) Life can be better, in my opinion, when we learn to extend and give of ourselves, especially our time, which is the most precious asset we each have. Thank you so much Pei Li for posting such a wonderful sentiment. Have a lovely weekend, and many, many mini hugs to you for all you do to help others!

Hugs xo
Jackie