Do you give back to your community?
Even before I had kids, I was a crazy busy person. I worked full time while going to university full time, and carved out time to volunteer in my community. After graduation, I worked full time, freelanced part time, and still found time to give back through volunteering. Once I had kids though, my charity work dropped off significantly.
I've been feeling guilty about not giving back, because helping those less fortunate is something I value highly and something I want to model for my children. Our budget is tight, so simply donating more money isn't an option. And while my schedule is busy, I knew there were some pockets of time I could find if I put more importance on this issue.
The reality is, most local charities need more than simply a cheque. They’re also looking for people willing to give of their time through volunteering.
You don’t need to commit every waking hour to be a valuable volunteer. There are even some things you do every day that can give back in small ways. While organizations are always looking for long-term volunteers able to commit a consistent number of hours a week or take ownership of a regular position, there are many charities that welcome the occasional help at certain times of the year, or for a specific event, especially if you want to get your mom group involved. Parents can look for opportunities where everyone in the family can volunteer together, even just for a few hours on a weekend or evening, one time only. One such opportunity is the Roots of Empathy program, where new moms can bring their babies to schools to teach children about empathy.
“A community is built on participation,” says Jamie Niessen, President and CEO of Volunteer Calgary. “Of course organizations need money, but they need talent too. As a city, and as individuals, we benefit from civic engagement and our organizations benefit immensely from the donation of talent. People have amazing skills and talents and it’s a great way to make a difference in the community.”
Niessen says that many charities have expanded the volunteer opportunities within their organization to accommodate for the fact that Calgarians live busy lives. “Organizations know that for families especially, time is precious, so they’re finding opportunities where the entire family can participate in the volunteer effort.”
If you’ve contributed as much as you can financially to your charity of choice, give them a call and see if you can help with their next event or their day to day operations. I've chosen local Calgary charity Made by Momma, as I can take on projects and events when my time allows, and I can often take my children with me when volunteering.