by Cricket Prescott

Some people do it once a week…no…it’s not about doing the household laundry. Some people do it once a month…no…it’s not about going to the store to buy the family groceries. Some people do it once a year…no, it’s not about filing tax returns. No matter how many times a year these people do it, they are gifts to our community. Wonder what they do? They volunteer…

To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.”~ Anonymous

The past few months I have observed what volunteers do and their impact on others. Each one is a gift to the community. It doesn’t matter how many hours they put in or what they are asked to do. They do it willingly, without pay, putting the needs of others first for a cause or for something they believe in. Some I have spoken with have told me the reason they volunteer is because they want and are able to help others. They experience that great feeling of making a difference in the community, to bring happiness or relief to those who need it. Volunteering gives them an opportunity to change lives, including their own.

With so many non-profits here in our Valley, volunteers are an integral part in helping with the mission and goals of these organizations. From stuffing envelopes, to making phone calls, to working on websites or special events, all of these tasks help bring awareness to a cause. No task is too small when you are helping others.

Volunteers are from all different ages and backgrounds. From High School students to Seniors, from co-workers to neighbors, each has a reason for taking time out of their lives to make a difference in our community. They are devoted to a cause that’s close to their heart while spreading that passion onto others.

It doesn’t take much to become a volunteer and if you’re thinking about taking that path to help others, here are a few things to think about to help you decide what type of organization you would like to volunteer with.

Consider the reasons why you want to volunteer. Do you want to share your time with others or give something back? Do you want to make new friends? Do you want to make a difference in the lives of others? Do you want to learn new skills? Taking time to review these questions could help you choose what volunteer work is right for you.

Choose an organization that is meaningful to you. There are many organizations in our Valley that cater to so many different people, places and things. It is important to choose something that you value, something that is near and dear to your heart.

Start small. If you want to volunteer but find your schedule is busy, try an hour or two per week or one day a month. Don’t even give it a second thought that it’s not enough time to make a difference. Take to heart what Aesop said, “No act of kindness, no matter how small is ever wasted”.

Being a volunteer benefits not only the community or the organization you are helping, but it also heals your soul and warms your heart. At the end of the day, it’s knowing that the time spent volunteering made a difference in the lives of others besides your own.