Why Do You Volunteer?
2012-06-25 · By Heather Crow Nelson
Charity: generous actions or donations to aid the poor, ill, or helpless
Desire: a strong feeling of wishing for something to happen
I recently published my charity memoir as a way to answer those who repeatedly asked me “Why do you volunteer?”. The purpose of my book was to inspire others, give ideas on how to volunteer, and also to try and explain a bit more why I volunteer so much.
As I’ve been doing Author Signing Events and speaking to local colleges, I’ve discovered two things. Charity truly is a work of heart. Volunteers and advocates are truly driven by a higher calling or a gut feeling, call it what you will. But those who do volunteer do it to make their community and the world a better place. They are driven by an unnamed passion to give back to others, despite their own personal circumstances.
Long Beach isn’t just the “International City”. It’s home. Long Beach is a community of innovative individuals who are striving to make our city and beyond a better place for future generations.
I asked some of my Long Beach friends why they volunteer, and their responses are truly inspiring.
“Growing up an avid volunteer I did everything from feeding the homeless to helping out at local school book fairs, visiting at Convalescent homes, to beach cleanups. The people of Long Beach have always shown appreciation for the time that you put into it. You meet many types of people when you volunteer in Long Beach, with SO many different stories. One time I was feeding the homeless at the Main Library, and met an ex-millionaire, who made a few bad mistakes and wound up on the streets. He told us to always look ahead and think about how your actions will affect others before making a decision. Very good advice from a man without a home.”
— Tarah Daniels
“I would say I am a volunteer by circumstance. Moving around a lot as a child, I never had the opportunity to feel like I was part of anything meaningful or felt a connection to any purpose or community, but that would change after fighting breast cancer. Learning my own life was saved because others volunteered; I took a leap and decided to give back. Funny thing about volunteering, you receive so much more in return. Not only did volunteering transform me from a patient to a survivor but the gratification knowing that I am a part of the cure no matter how soon or far away that is, gives so much pride that I could not walk away, only walk farther and raise more funds. As I have signed on year after year, started my own team, in multiple states now, and show others how to be a part of the cute, I am not just connected (in) my own community but the world. 1 in 7 women will get some form of breast cancer over her lifetime, you or someone you know will get breast cancer and breast cancer knows no age, boundaries, genders or economic status. I have to fight it, because a mastectomy is too barbaric for my daughter to have to face in the future.”
— Donna Stevens
“I volunteer to give back to the community for supporting & volunteering for us. Collaboration is important to all of our goals of assisting and serving our community!”
— Jane Tipton
“My spouse and I were hit hard by the recession (depression!!! really!), yet we know that there are thousands of residents that are barely scraping by and need help from all of us that are able to offer support. We offer workshops to create more awareness around green industries, and professions, and to connect individuals to potential employers and internships.”
— Stella Ursua
“I grew up mostly in Long Beach and have a strong love for my community. Having a daughter with autism, I became very involved with Autism In Long Beach and have had the opportunity to do some amazing things for my community through them and have met some amazing people along the way. I want my daughter to have a sense of community and to know the joy you receive from giving back to your community. It’s where we live and it’s up to us to join together and give back.”
— Heather Munnerlyn-Prosser
“I volunteer to give back to the community (I don’t live in Long Beach), Long Beach has reached out to our family and we’ve become part of their Autism community. Thanks to Autism In Long Beach.”
— Devun M. Hunter
“I volunteer because I grew up here and now my kids grow up here. I will always help Long Beach anyway I can!!!”
— Jodi Delgado
“I volunteer to give back! Working as an entertainer in Long Beach has been an amazing joy. I am so very blessed to do what I love in such a great city! Volunteering, and fundraising, has become one of my passions. There are so many wonderful groups, and causes, working day and day out to create a better community. It’s a joy to be a part of those causes, and help to achieve their noble goals!”
“I volunteer because I am compelled to help those who have difficulty helping themselves. It’s not a conscious decision. It’s embedded in my heart.”
— Kim McClain, Special Needs Advocacy – Long Beach
Whether you spend numerous hours weekly volunteering for an organization, or you just occasionally donate items, please know that you’re doing an amazing thing.
To find more local volunteer opportunities, you can visit VolunteerMatch.org