By: Martiane Stanger
As Thanksgiving and end-of-the-year holidays come upon us, it is easy to get wrapped up in busyness – busyness that can keep you running from here to there thinking, “I need to…”, “I want to…”, “If only I could…”
Might I suggest you finish that last sentence with “make some time to serve”?
Now, I know: Who has time to volunteer when there’s so much work to be done?
I’ve had that thought myself.
Luckily, however, I have let the call to serve trump the taunt that today, and tomorrow, and the day after that have just too many pressing needs, so serving will have to wait.
In doing so, I’ve discovered that acts of service—be they tiny and spontaneous or more in depth and organized— always bring fruit.
Fruit for others, and, yes, even fruit for oneself.
Without question, offering a helping hand to another can change someone’s life for the better, and, while it does, it can also impact your own life positively.
Did you know that volunteerism decreases risks of depression? That it can provide purpose and teach skills? That it can help you stay mentally and physically fit? That it may reduce stress levels and even help you live longer? Not to mention that it provides opportunities to meet others, develop social networks, and, well, just make for shared smiles?
All these claims are supported by research which shows that volunteering may be good for you body and mind, providing you a host of health benefits as you offer your time and talent to make someone else’s experience better, too.
So, as you take stock of your holiday task list, might I encourage to cross one thing off it, and, in its place. note something different— something that is worth making time for this holiday season and all year long: Service!
It truly could change your life even as you change the lives of others.
Need some ideas to get started with community service? Here on the Signature Moms blog, fellow blogger Sheila Gaudet offers some thoughts on community service and I have previously shared ideas for making a tradition of service. On my personal blog, I also periodically describe service initiatives I have enjoyed with my children.
Plus, you might consider these:
- Random acts of kindness, which are quick, easy, and effective.
- Gifts to Give, a local charity that people of all ages can serve at.
- My Brother’s Keeper, a favorite holiday place to serve
- Local pantries like Shane Gives Thanks – an amazing initiative begun by a child and his family, which seek help and donations.
- Some other pantries and organizations, like our local St. Vincent de Paul society, which welcome regular help as well as seasonal volunteers to box holiday meals.
- Those serving our country, who could use a care package
- Community groups like Middleboro Mess Movers that can use extra hands to keep our environment cleaner.
- Amazing local initiatives for kids and adults— like Borobot, which seek volunteers with expertise or just a desire to help!
- Organizations like Dress-a-Girl that give you opportunities to share your time and talents from home to impact people around the globe.
- Your child, spouse, mom, dad, brother, sister, neighbor,…who could likely use a hand with something. Just ask!
No matter what the state of your age, your skill set, or your calendar may look like at the present moment, surely one opportunity to serve or another may be calling to you. I encourage you: Answer the call.