This is the title of a wonderful country song by Randy Travis which is one of my favorites.
Although it was released nearly thirty years ago, when you look at the lyrics, nothing much has changed. “A dedicated army of quiet volunteers – reaching out to feed the hungry – giving shelter to the homeless – giving hope to those without – reaching out to save the land. If you see what’s wrong and you try to make it right, you will be a point of light.”
There is always a need for volunteers. School, churches and service groups could not have such an affirmative impact on our communities without them.
If you have a positive attitude and a willingness to do whatever needs doing, you might consider answering their appeals. Think about which causes are important to you – the environment; seniors, sports teams, youth groups, literacy or animal well-being to name only a few. Most do not require a huge or on-going time commitment since helping others should not add another “chore” to your already crammed to-do list.
Start small but find a good fit for your talents, hobbies or interests. Since you have a role as a mentor, perhaps a family activity would be a place to share your time or resources. My friend and her family volunteer regularly at the local Soup Kitchen and it certainly is a way for her to show her kids the value of kindness, empathy and compassion for others who are less fortunate.
As an added bonus, it builds a sense of gratitude in each member of her group.
At the thrift shop where I volunteer, the conversation is always lively and interesting and I come home with a wider insight into the many topics we discuss over lunch or at coffee break. It encourages me to be more open-minded and less judgmental. I help other people but it helps me even more.
Another friend who is less mobile and not able to travel to different locations creates beautiful blankets and hats for the babies at the hospital and for her church’s mission clinic in Africa.
Her knitting needles fairly fly as she is watching television in the evening. It gives her a sense of purpose and helps her to feel more connected to other people outside of her small network at the senior’s lodge where she lives. Humans apparently are hard wired to be part of a group. We are less fearful and anxious when we feel we are not all alone.
Religious leader and speaker Gordon Hinckley said that “he or she who serves almost always benefits more than he or she who is served”.
Studies have shown that he is quite correct.
Volunteering protects our mental and physical health. It combats depression, reduces anxiety and stress and helps us feel more mentally stimulated. Healthy Living Magazine reports that researchers have measured hormones and brain activity in individuals who volunteer and the conclusion is that the more we give the happier we feel.
Even giving in small ways can bring fun and fulfillment to our lives. It boosts our social skills, fills us with renewed creativity and helps us escape our day-to-day routine. It’s a great way to kindle happiness and satisfaction in all of us.
April 15th to 21st is Volunteer Appreciation Week. Thank you and “hats off” to all you who try to be a point of light.