Volunteer work?

Avatar for floridagirl52
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-16-2006
Volunteer work?
6
Thu, 03-07-2013 - 6:48am

I often hear (or read) advice to single women that they should volunteer. I'm just wondering how many of you you regularly volunteer and what your experience and satisfaction has been with it?

I am currently not vounteering at all. I want to want to volunteer, but I can't seem to get excited about anything in particular. There are all the usual things on offer: soup kitchen, visit an old folks home, meals on wheels, animal shelter, etc. It just seems like you'd do your shift and go home, and it's just not appealing. Yeah, I know one could get more involved with the administration of the organization, but nothing seems very inspiring to me. And, I can't really think of anything that I feel inspired to start on my own.

I've been a volunteer literacy tutor twice. When I first got divorced, this was about the only thing that seemed appealing, and it was at first. It involved meeting with an illiterate adult once a week and tutoring them using provided workbooks. I would meet the student at the library one-on-one. You might think, "Well, why didn't you get involved in an activity that put you around a lot of people?" but that's not really the point of volunteering is it? You volunteer to do something that you feel interested in.

My first student dropped out after about 6 months. This isn't uncommon. Adults who can't read have spent a lifetime working around it and they really don't know what they are missing. Most of them are poor and have lots of problems besides not knowing how to read. Years later, the organization called me again and I took on another student who also dropped out when the books became too hard. They tried to get me to volunteer again, but I just didn't have the heart for it anymore. I'm not really the social worker type I suppose.

I've volunteered at a PBS auction, at health fairs (was forced by my employer), worked a shift serving food at a concession stand for two different organizations and was a volunteer board member for a professional organization.

Again, I think volunteering is wonderful when you feel inspired to do it, and our society needs selfless acts. But is forcing yourself to do something really worthwhile? 

Avatar for cfk_3
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-14-1999
Thu, 03-07-2013 - 11:28pm

I've helped put care packages together at various places for various different charities.  I've cooked meals for a local place which is similar to the Ronald McDonald House concept - a place for families to stay free of charge with very ill loved ones in nearby hospice or hospitals.  I have also done Habitat which has probably been my favorite so far.  I enjoyed being able to interact and work alongside the home-owners-to-be.  Plus, I've been lucky to have been put on some very fun crews with charismatic/fun foremen.  I didn't seek this stuff out, it kinda just fell into my lap through friends or family.  Honestly, the only kind of volunteer work I was aware of, prior to, was serving food at the local homeless shelter which, I would still like to do at some point.  

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-10-2005
Thu, 03-07-2013 - 6:40pm

I have volunteered with a singles group, and it was fun.  They were afternoon projects like organizing donated items at a shelter.  When I had extra time on the weekends, this was a good way to get out and do something social, plus I like the concept of giving back to the community.

More recently, I volunteered for an organization, but the position was also a resume builder for me.  It was a fantastic experience and I learned a lot.  I did have some selfish motivation though, since it also helped me in my career.  I'd like to volunteer with them again, but it conflicts with my new job schedule right now.

It's important to me to give back to the community, but what I am able to do will change from year to year, and that's OK with me.

Avatar for floridagirl52
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-16-2006
Thu, 03-07-2013 - 5:43pm

I wouldn't take on volunteer work for the sole purpose of possibly meeting a man. Besides, I find most of these volunteer things to be 90% women anyway (what kinds of things do you volunteer for JT?) Just meeting new people would be a benefit, along with the passion I might have for the organization.

Other than the health fair I was forced to do, all of the other things were things I actually wanted to do, especially the board position I had--but that was different than helping the unfortunate. Gretchen Rubin talks about "finding your own Calcutta" in her latest book about happiness. She thinks it's important to find something you feel passionately about and donate your time and talents to it. She's very interested in organ donation and so started a campaign to raise awareness and get people to be a donor. I just haven't been moved in a long time, and I just wondered how other people approached volunteerism and how they felt about it

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Thu, 03-07-2013 - 12:20pm

I am not volunteering right now because basically with working full time and being a mother and also having an elderly mother to visit, I don't have that much free time.  I would also have to be inspired to work for a particular organization.  My son is forced to volunteer--kind of a contridiction in terms there--for high school.  they have to do 10 hrs a year of community service, which isn't too bad.  He volunteers at our town's food bank, which is basically just handing out food.  I found out that one of the adult volunteers is a retired woman I know. 

My aunt & uncle lived up north but then went to Florida for the winter--they used to volunteer in the hospital to show people around, then my aunt died and my uncle met another woman who also volunteered at the same hospital and they had never met each other before.  When I had to go to the hospital where I live for some tests, I noticed a bunch of elderly people hanging out at the desk and thought that might be something I'd do when I retired--it's not too hard and you can be around other people.

A meetup group I'm in has an event to go to a dance that's also a fund raiser for some food bank.  I gues you are supposed to bring food as well as pay for the admission.  Well I met the guy who organizes this and he was very cute--that alone would inspire me to volunteer for that.  Seriously, though, I think you should only volunteer if it seems like something that you want to do and you care about the organization--I would not do it in the hopes of meeting someone.  And there are certain kinds of things that I wouldn't do.  I really wouldn't like to take care of old or sick people but I would work for an organization that helps sick people, like the cancer society.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-08-2011
Thu, 03-07-2013 - 9:41am

This is an easy post to answer - you spend all of it saying how much you don't feel like volunteering. Then don't.

As for me, I volunteer, and have volunteered, for various organizations over many years and find it a lot of fun, interesting to try new things, and a great way to meet people. (For the dating-absorbed, I'm not talking about dating, just enjoying the social part of being involved with a group of people I wouldn't have normally met). It also provides the satisfaction of contributing. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-02-2008
Thu, 03-07-2013 - 7:07am

I figure the way I look at taking care of my sis 's dog and house and looking after my mom and doing favors for others is my way of volunteering.. I dont get paid for these things and it takes up alot of time...

I do a walkathon for ALS and volunteer there at these walkathons for the day... Its only a few days out of the year so its okay...

You could look into these just a few times a year things to satisfy this in yourself and not necessarily do it on a daily or weekly basis.

Just my two cents