Your Opinion: Why Do You Volunteer?

I was a candystriper in a hospital with a cute pink and white striped, pinafore jumper, a white shirt and white Keds tennis shoes. At 14, my friend and I made beds with hospital corners, answered room calls at the nurse’s station, delivered flowers or meals to patent’s rooms and pushed wheelchairs. We felt responsible and helpful, except when I dropped the urine specimen that wasn’t ready to be delivered to the lab.

This week is National Volunteer Week, and I encouraged my oldest daughter to find a volunteer job for the summer.

I was also invited to a volunteer recognition luncheon at the elementary school. I was embarrassed about going because I am a parent volunteer who only occasionally helps in my daughter’s classroom. I have two friends who are active PTA or PTO officers and another friend who is always helping in her daughter’s and son’s classrooms. They deserve a recognition lunch.

I do volunteer. In fact, I give much of my time freely to others, but I just help in less-structured ways. For instance, on the day of the recognition luncheon, my friend called at 6 a.m. and needed some unexpected help. Other than the luncheon, I was available and glad to help her. (To the volunteers who organized it, I am truly sorry for skipping it. It was a nice gesture.)

The opportunity met her needs, enriched our bonds of friendship, and made me feel productive and useful. These positives were the most important recognition for me. While it is nice to be appreciated, most of us do not volunteer for the recognition.

Why do you volunteer?

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4 Comments

  1. Julie
    May 2, 2008

    Cool post! I will be doing some volunteering tomorrow morning through our church. We are relatively new to this church and I’ve found it’s a great way to get involved, meet people, and help give back to the community. I love the feeling of helping other people, especially when I feel so blessed myself.

  2. Julie Q.
    May 2, 2008

    Do candystripers still wear those outfits? I so wanted to be one when I was 14. I ended up volunteering at the local arts center (where I probably ate enough ice cream sundaes to negate any help I contributed, but it was a great way to meet friends and gain some job experience.)

  3. eh
    May 2, 2008

    I say because I have nothing better to do, and I’m not quite old enough to get a job…

  4. Alison
    May 3, 2008

    As soon as I saw that photo I wondered if you were going to fess up to the urine sample incident!
    I volunteer because of almost all of the reasons in your poll – mostly because my life has been graced and I want to give back to others whose lives have not been.

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