Volunteering — Like Work, But Better

by Katy on August 5, 2008 · 3 comments


My family volunteers. 

Here, there and especially at the library.

My husband volunteers as the equipment manager for our local recreational non-profit soccer club. This means that he coordinates all soccer equipment for the largest league in the state of Oregon.

It’s a big commitment.

What this really means is:

The only clean and bright room in my basement is filled to the brim with goals, corner posts, soccer balls and other miscellaneous soccer crap. Really though, I don’t mind. I see the big picture.

My 10 and 12-year-old sons volunteer for our library’s summer reading program. They commit to a weekly two hour shift throughout the summer. They sign kids up for the program and pass out prizes and T-shirts.

Not only does this teach them the value of helping others, it also helps them get over their shyness about talking to strangers. 

Me? I also volunteer for the summer reading program. Plus I volunteer for the schools, although less than I used to. One year as PTA President cured me of thinking school volunteering could be enjoyable.


The volunteer work we do now is very satisfying. Because we are choosing what we do, it’s better than real work.

When volunteering, we get to choose what we do.

Like reading?

How about the library?

Like soccer?

A job on the soccer board is right up your alley.

Also, you get to meet people who share your own interests.

Many companies, both large and small are supportive of employee volunteerism. Contact your human resources department to see if your workplace has a program to let you volunteer on company time.

Not sure where to volunteer?

Websites such as volunteermatch.com will help you find the perfect volunteer opportunity for you.

When you volunteer you’re not only helping out others, but get that lovely feeling of having done a selfless act.

Where do you volunteer? Tell us about it in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

caroline August 5, 2008 at 4:28 am

I volunteer with the Cancer Council as a complementary therapist (reiki) and it has been the single, greatest thing that I have done. People always say that it’s a wonderful thing that I do, and comment on my relative youth, but those people don’t understand that is that it is an entirely selfish act on my part. If people understood how much joy, excitement and pleasure volunteering brings and how privileged I am to be able to do this, they would be lining up around the block for the chance!

Ohh.. our household also fosters rescued cats while they wait to find their forever home. Again, this is selfishness personified – we love cats and get a friendly cat to cuddle and pat and when it finds a home, we get another cat to cuddle and pat.

Now, i just need to find a way to make my volunteer work pay enough to quit my soul destroying day job….


Barbara August 10, 2008 at 9:24 am

My family and I volunteer at a local organization called “Family Table”. This is an organization that collects non-perishable foods (many from synagogues in the area), suppliments them with perishables such as milk and bread from the local food banks, and then delivers the groceries to individuals and families in need.
Sometimes we help out at the storage center, stocking shelves and unloading groceries from donators. Sometimes we do the “shopping” for the recipients, gathering the specific items they’ve requested. And sometimes we go on deliveries, bringing the groceries to folks who need them. We also try to bring conversation and good cheer along with the groceries.
And the best part of all: the kids love it.


Rebecca June 4, 2010 at 7:31 am

I know it’s a little late to comment on this 2 year old post but this is something I feel very strongly about. A few years ago I was in a deep depression and had gained a lot of weight while sleeping all day and working part time at night. I finally decided to volunteer with a local animal shelter to get out of my funk. It was the happiest time of my life. Not only did I lost the weight quickly by walking/running dogs, cleaning, and playing all day, I saw how much an animal can change by receiving attention, exercise, and playtime. After I started working full-time I had to quit volunteering and no surprise the weight and depression returned. Most organizations do not have very good weekend and evening volunteer programs so it has been difficult to find another volunteering opportunity. I could walk dogs, play with cats, and clean up poop and throw up all day and be a very happy person.


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