Wednesday, July 18, 2012


I currently volunteer with the American Red Cross. Sometimes, when people ask me why I do what I do, I brush it off with my standard "to keep out of trouble" answer. I was asked today why I volunteer and I stated "to keep off the streets," like my regular smarty-pants self. Immediately after, I realized there is so much more to it. Usually, I help out at the office doing the endless tasks it takes to manage a volunteer force. Spreadsheets, copies, phone calls, organizing, filing, you name it and it is probably something that needs to be done. 

No, I don't thrive on making sure the ten massive "Shelter Operations" binders have all the correct documents (in order) or monotonously typing information in a database. I do thrive on positive attitude, a willingness to serve, and dedication. The people who work and volunteer for the American Red Cross have those things in spades. My few hours every Wednesday afternoon brighten up my whole week as I get to work along side some amazing people. 

I think volunteering also serves as an exercise of getting over myself. I go even on days when I don't want to because I've made the commitment. I never regret going; even those bad attitude days get turned around after I leave my shift at the office. Maybe the positive vibes come from the doing for something bigger than myself. I feel slightly macabre admitting that working for an emergency relief agency reminds me that I have so much to be thankful for (seeing how quickly everything can be taken away when a disaster strikes). Seeing the other volunteers give so much of themselves selflessly inspires me, too. I will always have my own luggage to haul around, but so does everybody else. I like that my load feels lighter on days when I am helping to lighten others' loads. 


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