VolunteersToday was a big day for me. I was inducted as a member of the Rotary Club of Keene.  I am really looking forward to my work with this impressive group whose motto is Service Above Self.  Rotarians develop community service projects that address many of today’s most critical issues, such as children at risk, poverty and hunger, the environment, illiteracy, and violence. They also support programs for youth, educational opportunities and international exchanges for students, teachers, and other professionals, and vocational and career development. 

As long as I can remember I have given my time to a variety of volunteer groups, non-profits and civic organizations.  Yet, many people I know do not regularly volunteer their time and they seem to have good reasons for why they are too busy.  For me it may have started when I was younger and had little money to give to charity, so volunteering was a good way to feel like I was making a difference.  However, now it is so much more than time vs. money.  For many years my volunteer activities revolved around my children and their schools or extracurricular activities.  My reason for this type of volunteer work was obvious and very rewarding on many levels.  Over the years as my kids got older I found my way into volunteering for non profits and civic organizations as a way to “make a difference”.

I cannot say enough about the rewards of volunteering and getting involved in community.  Not only is it personally fulfilling to me, but it has paid in off ways I never imagined.  I have had the pleasure of meeting hundreds of people I may not otherwise have known.  I have received recognition for sharing my talents by doing what I enjoy and what comes easy to me.  Unlike work, when you volunteer you have the luxury to choose only the activities you enjoy.  I have impacted the lives of people less fortunate than me. Volunteering taught me to step outside my comfort zone and as a result I am more confident and self assured.  I have made valuable business connections and longtime friends.  In fact, through volunteering I was lucky enough to meet my current boss.  We worked on committees together and got to know each other and we each saw how the other worked.  It was a natural next step to work together when he needed a Staffing Manager and I was in search of a new job.  Through that connection I not only found employment, but found a job I love!

Each one of my volunteer experiences has involved a community of sorts, which included respect, support, fun, friendship and a shared purpose.  In today’s world there are so many people in need, so many struggles and so much unrest.  There are endless opportunities for every person to become involved and make a difference.  As a lifelong volunteer I can wholeheartedly say it is not just about “giving” and there is so much to gain.  So if you don’t already, please consider giving a little of your time.  If you are not sure where to start ask me.  I would be happy to talk to you about Rotary or other wonderful ways to share your time and talents.

To learn more about Rotary Club of Keene visit their Facebook page or visit www.keenerotary.org.