Photo by Salt Water New England

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Volunteering In Your Strengths

Photo by Salt Water New England
Perhaps the best way that anyone can find their areas of strengths is to volunteer.  People who love animals spend time in rescue shelters.  People who can organize well might put together food drives or run community events.  Budding computer programmers help their grandparents set up their networks (both technical and social).

And for younger people striving to identify what jobs and skills they should pursue, volunteering becomes an ideal venue to experiment.

Given that examples are helpful to others in this area, do you volunteer in a way that lines up with your strengths?


22 comments:

  1. The local Audubon Society, preserving habitat.

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  2. I'm not sure my strength is construction, but I enjoy volunteering for Habitat for Humanity. It's demanding but at the end of a hard day, when I can see tangible evidence of my efforts, I feel energized. I also serve on Vestry at my Episcopal Church, finance and policy matters being nearer to my skill set. I also own the jacket above having volunteered for the HOCR and have worked with my local rowing club. That club, in part, works to introduce inner city kids to rowing and for many it’s a life changing experience. My only lament is that I don’t have more time to devote to these causes. Cheers!

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  3. Hats off to all those who donate their time to volunteer!

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  4. Great topic that is so very much in line with the Yankee values modeled to me by my grandparents, parents, and so many others in my family.

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  5. We do an unorganized local, outdoor clean-up. We clean the beaches and town-owned property, when we seen a need- which is fairly often. All you need is coffee, gloves, garbage bags and a dump sticker.

    I expect we'll do a lot more hands on vs. check writing support when we retire. God willing........

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    1. Hands on helps. But volunteers do, mostly, only what they want to do. A check, no matter the amount, will more reliably help a non- profit get the work done.

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    2. Anonymous 11:02 a check can't answer a crisis helpline, offer companionship to a lonely elderly person in assisted living or be a role model to struggling youth to name a few things. Thankfully there are many people who want to do those things because of the value they receive vs a monetary exchange.

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    3. That’s right. People (volunteers) will do things because they “want to do those things.” Without “a monetary exchange” how do those tasks get done that people don’t want to do?

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    4. Do you mean tasks like answering a crisis help line at 3am? Good question. Thank you.

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    5. It's not either/or. Both are important. Some give time, some give money, some give nothing but judge how others give. The latter is why some things never get done.

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  6. Excellent question. I have always tried to connect my volunteering with my interests. When I was in school and early in my career, this involved tutoring at risk children and fundraising for a local food bank. Today, I'm active in the educational side of my Masonic Lodge's philanthropy (we sponsor scholarships for high school and college students) and on the PTA at our children's schools.

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  7. I wish I had more money so I could work for free. All my spare time goes to my side jobs.

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    1. You don't need money to dedicate an hour a week to a cause you care about, or even an hour a month. When you care about a cause it doesn't feel like work.

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  8. Have spent many hours cleaning up our local beaches. Wish people were more mindful about trash -- I've seen people dump their ashtrays into the street which makes me vivid! In Italy and France (despite a long strike) people don't litter -- they drink their coffee in little ceramic cups at the cafe and don't use paper cups. Recently our town has banned plastic bags. This is great! Everyone now must bring their own reusable bags to grocery shop. Someday I might be able to volunteer for something else if people would just stop littering. Sigh.

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    1. If you want people to stop littering, why not make systematic change rather than constantly clean the beaches? If there aren't trash cans on the beaches or they aren't emptied frequently enough, you can work to change that. If there's no fine for littering, you can work to change that. If there is a fine but it's not enforced, you can work to change that. Etc. By considering and acting upon the root of a problem, rather than its symptoms, one can make lasting change and even ease one's workload.

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    2. K, it's interesting that you mention that you don't have time to volunteer (above) but you have time to criticize someone's noble efforts to be a part of the solution. Also, we have no idea whether or not Ms. Murray has also been active in her community.

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    3. Connie Smith I'm with you - as an American expat living in London, there is a very stark contrast between how Londoners view trash (individually wrap everything in single use plastic, and then throw said plastic all over the streets and parks) and how the French, Italians and the Nordic countries view littering: they seem to treat it as a public nuisance and a common responsibility to keep public space clean. My local borough in London is borrowing from the mainland Europe playbook and is upping their drive for more city composting, and it's been very welcoming to see that our local independent shops are all promoting reusable, non-plastic bags. However, we've a long way to go to catch up to the rest of western Europe on this front.

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  9. I love helping students (for free) with Latin, Greek, French and German. It's an extension of my "regular job" as a professor, but it feels like service on a different level. Anything to keep the Classics afloat!

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  10. I am a CASA - Court Appointed Special Advocate - which is sort of a mentor to a child in foster care. Not so sure it lines up with my strengths. Just trying to make life better for one person.

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  11. I've always found volunteering to be emotionally healthy, and a great way to make like-minded friends.

    Because I am a voracious reader of the classics, I volunteered at a rural New Mexico library for 10 years (every Wednesday night). This little community library has 95 volunteers w/ only four paid staff. It's a vital part of the community. I was given the keys to the building to open/close. Established new accounts, helped on commuters, restacked books on shelves, etc. Plus enjoyed a wonderful Christmas party annually.

    As a serious family historian; discovered I have several 4x great-grandfathers who fought in the American Revolution. I therefore combined my love of genealogy w/ the Daughters of the American Revolution and have recently become a new member! I look forward to helping w/ their patriotic activities, historic preservation and genealogical research, etc. Have already been asked to be my local Chapter's photographer.

    As a devout Christian - I'm also a member of a small rural, traditional United Methodist Church. There's always some form of volunteer work needed to help support this church.

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  12. In the past I've volunteered my time to habitat management, conservation and surveys for the RSPB and Butterfly Conservation. I don't get as hands on as I used to, due to other commitments, but still get involved as and when I can.

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