Americans are by nature of very giving people. Whether it’s with dollars or their two bare hands, we are always willing to help others. It’s not just during natural disasters, either. Many times people come together just to lend a hand.
- Building homes through Habitat For Humanity and other organizations
- Sprucing up parks, waterways and roads
- Shoveling snow and raking leaves for neighbors
- Tutoring young people and the illiterate
There are numerous ways you can help out, as I address in this column on volunteering (and the additional articles referenced). These volunteer opportunities can exist near home or in a faraway country. There is no limit to the volunteering you can do.
I enjoy volunteering, because I know I am doing good. Every little bit helps, as the old saying goes. My time is split between Rotary Club of New Berlin, southeast Wisconsin chapter of JDRF, and MRAC VEC, Inc., a ham radio group. Between these three, I can find numerous volunteer opportunities throughout the year.
Back in Spring I had the pleasure of helping out on a volunteer project here in New Berlin. New Berlin Junior Woman’s Club spearheaded a drive to build a fully accessible playground at Malone Park. You can learn more about that project here, but I’d like to share a few thoughts.
Five months in planning, the playground development took place over seven days in mid-May. It was a huge undertaking. To save money, organizers wanted to use volunteer efforts and donated supplies as much as possible. So the call went out. To say that the community responded would be an understatement. Some 1,350 volunteers put in more than 10,000 hours to make this project a reality. Volunteers came from New Berlin and surrounding communities. Businesses lent tools and other gear. Restaurants donated food. (Imagine feeding dozens of people working 12-hour shifts for seven days.) Build week was May 16 – 22. Due to construction schedules, the main work had to be completed by May 22. It was.
I had the pleasure of assisting for a few hours on Thursday, May 19. Working alongside Chris, a local firefighter and contractor, I sawed, routed and drilled. You can’t see much of my handiwork today, as it’s buried under other framing. But I left my mark nonetheless. More importantly, I helped a worthy cause. Honestly, I wish I could’ve spent more time on the Malone Playground project.
“What a tremendous gift you have given to all the citizens of New Berlin,” Erica Moranski of NBJWC (and a fellow Rotarian) said during the Grand Opening ceremony on July 2. The new playground, funded heavily by a donation from NBJWC, was dedicated to the memory of Kim Bray, an NBJWC member who passed away in 2005. Her family was introduced during the grand opening ceremonies, to warm applause from the audience.
Volunteering comes in many forms. It doesn’t take much to make a difference. The satisfaction of knowing you helped a worthy cause is so rewarding. Contact some volunteer organizations in your community. Offer to assist on occasion, and you’ll see what I mean.
What volunteering opportunities have you participated in? How did the project affect you? Feel free to leave a comment below. If you found value in this post, please share it so others may benefit from what you and I have written. You may use any of the following buttons. To contact me, send an email.