Volunteers at work

I spent a couple of hours yesterday volunteering at the Choices office organizing groups for this weekends Givers 2 training. It was a delightful, and productive, two hours where I got to live on purpose, grounded in my belief in the importance of giving back.

And as I worked, other volunteers were in the main seminar room assisting in the five day Choices seminar.

And as they coached, other volunteers were connecting with trainees, ensuring they are feeling supported and loved as they prepare to come back for this weekends Givers 1 and Givers 2 training sessions.

And as they connected, more volunteers are out there in the world working to ensure organizations and charities and amateur sports teams and medical research facilities and hospice care centers and hospitals and animal shelters and a host of other organizations that could not work without their support, continue to operate, to deliver services and care to people, just like you and me.

Volunteering makes a difference.

Volunteers are the difference.

At lunch today I am meeting with members of the This is My City —  Tip Your Hat organizing committee. We are preparing for this year’s event during Stampede. Everyone on the committee is committed to making a difference, to ensuring this years Tip Your Hat is even more successful than last year’s.

Yesterday I meet with my friend, Dave Tod, who is organizing a 24 hour golf charity event on behalf of a local agency that works with individuals with mental health issues. Golf-around-the clock is his brainchild — that’s assuming someone who willingly, knowingly, consciously golfs for 24 hours straight has a brain! (But then… I volunteered to accompany him on the course throughout the 24 hours so I could tweet and blog and promote the event for him! Colour me crazy too!)  He volunteers his time and energy to create this event because…. it makes a difference.

Whether you give a couple of hours to organize paperwork, answer phones, sort mail, or you sit on a board of directors for an agency of any sort, whenever and whatever you volunteer — your time, treasures, talents — your spirit  makes the difference.

As you move through your day, watch for volunteers. Those kids on the corner with Green Peace… they’re volunteers. Do share a smile with them. You may not agree with their convictions — but they care enough to give their time. Volunteering a smile costs nothing and makes a difference.

That woman in the giftshop at the hospital? She’s a volunteer. Give her a smile. It will brighten her day.

That man shepherding visitors in and out of the Emergency room. He’s a volunteer. Say hello. Share a greeting. You will encourage his giving.

It doesn’t take much to make a world of difference. Sometimes, all we need to do is notice those around us who are volunteering their time, and smile.

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