If you’re anything like me, you have that one inner resolution that routinely pops into your mind as a must-do only to find later that goal never seems prioritized. It could be from a healthy prospective: eat less processed foods or cut out all caffeine. Maybe it’s more about time management: devote less time to work, find more time for family, or dedicate time daily to exercise in the hopes of lowering stress. This inner resolution is something we have the best intention of accomplishing and yet always find it gets pushed back to tomorrow. For me, that failed resolution has always been about volunteering in the community.
I’ve got friends whose lives are a solid mix of family, work and community service. They can manage a household, work a full-time job, run a 5K on the weekend, chair a PTA committee and still find the time to volunteer with local community non-profits. I find myself completely blown away by their time management.
Meanwhile, my middle school child is required to perform six hours of community service per semester. We know this is a requirement, we have over 18 weeks to get this accomplished. And yet, for the past two years we have consistently found ourselves frantically searching to complete a last-minute service project before her form is due back to school.
My new job as Director of Marketing and Publicity for The Jewish Pavilion means that I am working for a non-profit whose business model relies heavily on the resources provided by volunteers. In fact, part of my job is to report on all the wonderful work of our volunteers and get it out to the community, so that we can continue to grow that support base. Volunteer is a term that is consistently part of my day-to-day focus now and it has made me increasingly self-aware I am not doing enough, and it is truly time to fix this.
How convenient it is to learn that April 15-21 is National Volunteer Week. A movement that originated in Canada, the event was signed as an official proclamation in 1974 by then-President Richard Nixon. Since then, an official proclamation recognizing the week has been issued every year by the sitting President.
Research into the origination of this event further cements the need to incorporate this type of work into my everyday life. According to a 2013 study conducted by the United Way, “individuals who volunteer enjoy psychological and physical benefits, including increased satisfaction, improved sense of belonging, lower blood pressure, increased protection from Alzheimer’s, and decreased mortality.”
Emily Glickstein has been a volunteer with The Jewish Pavilion for five years. The organization is just one of several non-profits that she helps. For Glickstein, the choice to volunteer is simple. “It’s just part of the way I was raised,” says Glickstein. “My mom always did volunteer work when I was growing up. And I really believe if you have the extra time, it’s what you should do.”
Glickstein describes the volunteer work as beneficial for all parties involved. “I know the seniors [at Jewish Pavilion programming] get enjoyment out of the visit,” says Glickstein. “But the pleasure that visit gives me is just as much, if not more.”
“You don’t have to spend eight hours a day volunteering, but do something,” says Glickstein.
And hearing it phrased in such a way from Glickstein, my burdensome resolution suddenly becomes something that is really so simple. It’s not about the length of time or the convenience of the location. It’s really just about taking the steps to perform the action. Any action. Just Do Something.
I hope in this important month of volunteering you will join me in finding the time to give back to our wonderful community. Organizations like The Jewish Pavilion could not accomplish all that they do without the fantastic work of our volunteers. Visit our facilities calendar on our website to learn more.