By Janet Prince
Saying “yes” to being asked to volunteer is a very personal decision. Everyone that volunteers do so for very different reasons. I do it for many reasons. Being a homemaker with grown or almost grown children allows me the opportunity to give of my time and my resources. But most of all it gives me a sense of belonging to a “sisterhood” that I get so much more from than I could ever give.
Many say “no” to volunteering for many reasons, such as they don’t have the time, it doesn’t fit in their schedule, or they think that means more meetings. Well, for a volunteer organization to run smoothly, meetings are involved. However, individuals can choose how involved they want to be…do they aspire to be a chairman of the club/group, or maybe an officer on a higher level or do they want to just be a “worker bee” behind the scenes. Each job level is just as important as the other.
When I began volunteering with the General Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC.org), I had much to learn. My club, the Woman’s Club of the Midlands, which is a part of GFWC South Carolina (gfwc-sc.org) does many things in our community. One of our newest projects is collecting books and building a bookshelf to put at Lexington Oncology for those receiving treatments, as well as for their caregivers. Patients will be able to “borrow” books to help pass the time, which for some can be most of a day. This is a project that won’t take hours to do or put a stress on our members, but it will mean the world to the patients at Lexington Oncology. This is just an example of how easy volunteering is to do.
I would encourage you to look at the many organizations in our community that are always looking for volunteers. Find one that represents what you are passionate about and step forward. For me knowing that “The General Federation of Women’s Clubs is an international women’s organization dedicated to community improvement by enhancing the lives of others through volunteer service” I knew I had found my place to serve. While serving our community through the Woman’s Club of the Midlands, I have received so much in return. I have been able to develop my leadership skills, by serving as a club officer, chairing committees, and the highest honor of all was to serve as the GFWC-SC State President for 2016-2018. But most of all I have developed friendships with women across our state and across our country.
I have just returned from a region meeting in Mississippi with my “Southern Sisters”. We laughed, we learned, and we shared so that when the weekend was over we all returned to our homes with our cups so full that they are running over with joy. So, I encourage you not to look at volunteering as work, but as fun while helping others. I guarantee the return you get will be more than you could ever give.
My theme when I was president was “Sharing our Passion…One Step at a Time”. Find your passion and share your talents and your time in our community…you will never regret it!