“Life’s most urgent question is: What are you doing for others?”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
“In this life we cannot always do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”
– Mother Teresa
National Volunteer Month in the United States takes place in the month of April. This month is dedicated to honoring all of the volunteers in our communities.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a volunteer is a person who voluntarily undertakes or expresses to undertake a service.
I would like to thank my mother who, at a young age, introduced me to volunteer work. Thanks, Mom for being an inspiration to me! She taught at a bible school camp, bringing me along to assist in the lessons. To this day, my mom has continued volunteer work through her parts in various plays with the Hollow Tree Players in a small town called Ligonier. All of the money raised for each play is donated to a local family or organization in need.
(My mom, in the red dress, performing on stage.)
I have discussions with my children about small ways they can volunteer at school and in our community. How can kids help out at school to create a kind environment conducive to learning?
Possible ways include to reach out to a child playing alone at recess, say “hello” to another classmate who looks sad, or show kindness to a new student. My hope is that my daughter and son will show empathy towards others throughout their lives. The empathy seed is planted at a young age by the caregivers. By modeling and giving your child opportunities to help others, the seed will continue to grow.
Empathy is the ability to put yourself in another person’s shoes. It’s a learned skill that begins developing in infancy through the way caregivers interact with the baby.
Thank-you to all of the volunteers who dedicate their hearts to helping others!
Around 13 years ago, I learned about Safe Harbor in while attending a school counselor’s meeting. I became a trained volunteer in the summer of 2004. A special thanks to the volunteers at the Safe Harbor Bereavement Center in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania who facilitate support groups with children, teens, and adults during the school year. Camp Charlie, a week-long camp in June, is also made possible by volunteers. (Coordinated by a wonderful staff!)
(Shari, Richard, Joni, and Jackie in the photo after our group this week. The photo is missing Maria. We facilitate a bereavement support group for children ages 10 to 11 years-old.)
How will you make a difference?
Thank you for taking the time to read my post!
Joni Patras is a previous elementary school counselor with a Master’s Degree in School Counseling, volunteer for 13 years with the Safe Harbor Bereavement Center in Pennsylvania, picture book writer, SCBWI Member, Zumba & kickboxing lover, and a mother of two children/ one fur baby.