Ask the Readers: Do You Volunteer?

By Ashley Jacobs on 9 June 2015 59 comments

Editor's Note: Congratulations to An G, Mary, and Kristin for winning this week's contest!

Volunteering is a great way to give back to your community, and you can gain a lot out of the experience, too! A history of service looks great on your resume, but you also get to meet a lot of different people and learn a bunch of new skills while making a difference in your community.

Do you volunteer? What was the most important thing you've received or learned from volunteering? If you aren't volunteering right now, what organizations or programs would you like to be a part of if you had the time and energy?

Tell us about your volunteer experience and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

Win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards

We're doing three giveaways — here's how you can win!

Mandatory Entry:

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If you're inspired to write a whole blog post OR you have a photo on flickr to share, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.

Giveaway Rules:

  • Contest ends Monday, June 15th at 11:59 p.m. Pacific. Winners will be announced after June 15th on the original post. Winners will also be contacted via email.
     
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Good Luck! 

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Guest's picture
Mary Happymommy

I don't volunteer right now but I have in the past. I volunteered to work with the mentally disabled.

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Tina in NJ

We do a lot of volunteering through my church: soup kitchen, homeless housing, etc. We used to volunteer with the scouts, both genders, when the kids were younger. I am currently treasurer of our square dance club, if that counts. Also, in the middle of the summer, our family goes with another group to Appalachia to help with house projects. And my quilt guild does a raffle quilt each year with the proceeds going to charity.

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Ernest S.

I do volunteer, but mostly when my company supports an event. I do want to do more personal volunteering, as I think it's not only rewarding, but also gives me better perspective on life (and how fortunate I am).

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MJ

I do. It's not necessarily super time consuming - attend board meetings and write articles for a publication, but it's for causes that I care about. I hope to add more hours and do more volunteer work once my debt is paid off, though.

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Elena

I don't volunteer, but I would like to

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Julie Wood

I do not volunteer at this time, but I used to volunteer at the local food bank and help stock food and I helped one year with handing out turkeys for the needy. At this time, I am so busy taking care of an elderly parent and helping a disabled sister.

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Matt

I don't right now, but I would like to get more involved in doing work with kids in inner city schools.

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Gina

I volunteer when I have time and have learned patience and compassion.

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Mary Wright

If you volunteer and look forward to it each time, if you are engaged, excited and happy when you volunteer, if you find your brain works harder and you feel smarter and have more self confidence, then you are doing it right. Find the organization that fits you and where you fit with them. Don't give up if you have a bad experience. I have found several passions through volunteering and am a much better person for it

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Amanda Sakovitz

I dont volunteer right now but I have before.

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A Florida Mom

As a home school family, we have the time to help others. We delver meals on wheels every Tuesday, help with our church food bank, help build/repair a near by Native American village, and go to people's home's to cook/clean when needed.
I have tried to instill a since of thankfullness in my children for living in this great country, and having them helping others is our way of making it a better place to be.

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richard

I volunteer helping those who have just experienced the sudden death of a loved one.

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Susan P.

I have volunteered a lot at the schools my daughters attended. I was Room Mother in Elementary school, and treasurer of the Band parents in Middle School. When they were in High school, I was President of the Chorus Boosters, Vice President of Drama Boosters plus Chair of the Uniform Committee for Band/Guard and then Chorus. I volunteer in my community as Chair of the Fine Hearing Committee, which I've done for 20 years.

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Renee

I enjoy volunteering and try to do it regularly. In the past, I have been involved with Habitat for Humanity builds and animal shelters. Recently, I do trail building/stewardship and science outreach for K-12 students, though I wish I had more time to get involved with my community.

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jeff

I volunteer with the park service when I get a chance

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nicole dziedzic

My volunteer experience was helping out in a sheltor during the holidays to feed the homeless.

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Guest

In the past I volunteered with grieving children. I just moved but I hope to find a similar opportunity here!

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Jennifer Marie

I volunteered at my son's baseball concession stand. Previously I would volunteer at the local nursing home.

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Christina

I do not volunteer right now - I have been meaning to....

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An G

we volunteer at the food shelter during the holidays. Very rewarding to all of the family espeically the kids

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Olivia

I'm not working right now, so have free time. Volunteering is a great way to put some "oomph" behind something you believe in and give back. I volunteer at our local library and at the non profit thrift store. Both are great resources for the financially strapped and have been a huge help to our family. Plus it's good getting to know people in our community that way.

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Betty

When my daughter was school aged, I volunteered for a lot of school events, as well as town sports. It was a great way to meet other parents, some of which are still my friends years later.

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Elle

I do volunteer pretty consistently at different causes and events.

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cherie

I do a lot of volunteering - in the past I've done PTA and been president there [huge headache but worthwhile for my kids], taught illiterate adults to read [and presided on that board eventually as well - nice to be able to steer that organization towards the next challenges] and currently volunteer both at a suicide/crisis hotline and as a commissioner for our water district.
I have learned a great deal, and experienced a great deal and I challenge everyone to find something meaningful to them and get busy volunteering - it's more important in this day and age than ever as funding shrinks. I'm a sandwich generation single mom of three kids who also works [albeit not full time] as an attorney - I've nursed at boardroom tables - if I can do it so can most people - I know there are those who are truly unable to pry time away from their lives - find another way - make a donation, send out fundraising letters for them from home - there's always a way to help. I promise you'll never regret it.

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Lora Stevens

I have volunteered the past 4 years as a Big Sister with our local Big Brothers Big Sisters chapter.

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Suz_Glo

I have always volunteered at my children's schools as a tutor or room mom. But when my oldest went to high school I began working one morning a week in the main office there. My youngest is now in HS and my 5 years "behind the scenes" experience has taught ME a lot! I really enjoy it but I also think it's important for me as a parent to see what the administrators and teachers really go through each day.

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Tara

Yes, I think volunteering is a great way to spend my time, and meet new people. Volunteering helps me be a part of the community, the solution, and be humble. I volunteer with Team RWB, Team Rubicon, Girls on the Run, and other organizations less frequently.

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Guest

I try to volunteer when I have time, which unfortunately isn't very often. When I do volunteer, I don't really stick with one thing, I do a search for my area and see what opportunities are there and pick whichever seems most fun and like something I could do.

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Bekki

Yes, every Sunday night I volunteer in the nursery at my church, and once a month I play bingo at the assisted living home in my city.

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Raina

I volunteer at our city animal shelter, walking dogs, socializing and cleaning up after cats, and helping potential adopters. I also fostered several litters of kittens last summer. It's very depressing to know so many of the animals are put down because they can't find homes.

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Christie

I do, but not a lot of time is volunteered anymore. Different stages of life have different needs and abilities -- just in one right now that allows for less time for volunteering! But I'm sure as life changes, that will change too. Love working for clean water charities!

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Nancy

I do volunteer. I'm a Natural Resource Volunteer for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. The volunteer program is excellently run, with training and responsibilities in many aspects of environmental quality and wildlife management. I also do volunteer gleaning for the local food bank when opportunities arise.

Guest's picture

I volunteer as a Police Reserve officer, helping at city events and patrolling my city looking for an unusual activity. I also donate blood and volunteer at Feed My Starving Children on a regular basis.

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I volunteer at an all girls summer camp in northern Michigan. I love being able to give young women a chance to grow and become strong, independent individuals that have the confidence to go out and do great things in the world.

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Monique

I'm lucky enough to have volunteered for the local Humane Society for the past several years. I get to spend time with some very sweet, loving animals, be a part of helping them find a home, and also help to inform the public about the role we play in making the world better for pets.

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Linda Burkhart

I have been a CASA (court appointed special advocate) for abused and neglected children in the Foster system for 4 years. I am disabled and unable to work. I think working with these children, that my heart goes out to, does more for me than them. It gives my life meaning and it is something I can do. We desperately need more volunteers in our county.

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SB

I have been a volunteer in the library of a local hospital for over 10 years

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Kim

Yes. I volunteer at the schools my kids attend.

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Martha

We volunteer as a family--through the kids school mostly, but sometimes trail maintenance or the like.

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slim

I volunteer for various educational, historical and preservation related groups. I do the website and Facebook pages for the Indiana Lincoln Highway Association.

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Holly Sanford

I volunteer through my kid's school activities and in the community. As a single mom I don't have a lot of extra money to donate to worthy causes so instead I volunteer my time. I am treasurer for the booster club of my son's lacrosse team and I was a member of my older son's Project Graduation committee. Our family also donates our time every year to collecting for our community's Crusade for Children.

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Kelli

I'm not currently volunteering but have done so in the past at the Animal Humane Society and would like to volunteer with them again and/or other animal charities in the future.

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Cynthia

I don't currently volunteer but would like to find something I can consistently commit to. I think it's nice to take the focus off ourselves sometimes and put it towards someone or something else. It can be a reality check!

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Liisa R

Yes, a few hours a week at a local thrift store that benefits immigrant families in a rough part of town.

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Guest

For the past five years I've enjoyed volunteering at our local dog and cat shelter. I adopted one of the dogs, so now we have three great dogs.

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Donna D.

I don't volunteer, but I would like to. We donate to good causes and help support a food pantry.

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Susan Smith

I volunteer at my childrens schools.

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Barbara Montag

I volunteer for our food shelf.
Very rewarding!
thank you

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Guest

I volunteer at church all the time, but most other places don't offer child care for volunteers.

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tricia

I don't currently volunteer, but have in the past at my children's schools when they were younger. When I retire, I plan on doing a lot of volunteering!

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Sara

I've spent the last eight and a half months volunteering with AmeriCorps NCCC. My team has worked with four different nonprofits, mostly doing conservation work with local conservancies or building infrastructure for Habitat for Humanity homes. Throughout the experience I've learned how to build trails, helped behind the scenes at fundraising events, and basic home improvement such as putting up doors or setting up floors.

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Catseye

I have volunteered in the past through my job, but I haven't done so lately. I'd like to volunteer on a regular basis once I retire, but just don't have the time these days.

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I volunteer each week at the local food bank. I've never been in a situation where I've been unable to feed myself or my family, and I can only imagine how difficult that would be. The amount of donated food that gets distributed through the food bank is really impressive, and it makes me very conscious not to waste food when I'm at home.

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Laura J

I love to volunteer whenever I can! I used to volunteer with autistic adults and children in the summers! There are so many wonderful volunteer opportunities out there that really need help. My mom has put in over 5000 hours at our local hospital.

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J. Pario

Yes, at our church-run, all-volunteer thrift store. Lowest prices in town! it really helps a lot of folks.

Guest's picture

I am fortunate and blessed in so many ways. Since I've retired, I've decided to focus my skills, energy and time on family and volunteer work. I usually have several projects underway on any one day, but I am always open to new adventures.

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Liz

I usually do for company events but I would like to get more involved on my own time.

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Happy Love

I volunteer at the local science fair.

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Louly

I don't... but I totally should. I have in the past.

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Adrienne

I volunteer by taking care of a group of stray cats in our neighborhood. I feed them twice a day and make sure they have fresh water. My husband and I have also had seven cats spayed/neutered and gotten them their shots since last November. I enjoy it!

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Thomas Murphy

I volunteer at my local food bank

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Tabathia B

I don't volunteer. But I have always encouraged my kids to volunteer.