As we are approaching the holidays, it is common to feel the yearning to want to help others. There are many ways to fulfill that need. Here at Oneupweb, the staff certainly takes time out of their busy schedule to help others in our community. Over the weekend, I bumped into a fellow Oneupwebber who was volunteering at the Habitat for Humanity Thrift Store. Though I did not find what I was looking for, I felt it heartwarming to see her volunteer her time, knowing that she maintains a busy schedule.
Over the years, I have certainly done my share of volunteer work. My son, who teaches me something new every day, has Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy. I have donated numerous hours on his behalf through the Epilepsy Foundation of Michigan; speaking at their annual fundraisers (sharing my son’s story and speaking of the hope for his future), walking and raising funds in their annual Summer Stroll for Epilepsy, and donating money and resources. My son also attends Camp Discovery every summer where he has the opportunity to feel like a “normal” child. Without this program he would never have had the chance to go to camp, as it’s staffed with volunteer Pediatric Neurologists and R.N.s from the local hospital (not to mention a wonderful group of volunteers and Epilepsy Foundation of Michigan staff members). In the upcoming years, my son will become a volunteer camp counselor and give back a little of what he has received.
Most recently, and in addition to working and attending college, I have chosen to help one of my best friends. He is well known in our local community and was given devastating news over a year ago that he has ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). My son and I moved into his home temporarily to help him with his day-to-day needs. I assisted in locating and taking him to the closest ALS clinic, finding the necessary resources in our community, and assisted him with all his daily needs. As his disease has progressed, his living situation has changed and I now find myself regularly helping him 3 nights per week and on the weekends. Cooking, cleaning, taking care of our beautiful dog (Mia) that we share, and distributing his medications, are just a few ways that I am able to make his day a little brighter. Just last week, I added a pumpkin to his porch which surely made him smile. And of course, a joke here and there keeps him on his toes!
Though I don’t volunteer at a traditional place of business or organization, I certainly do my share to help someone in my community (I didn’t even mention the other charitable work I do through the year…maybe in my next blog). I would encourage everyone to find their niche either to an organization or to someone where you can make a difference. Whether it be for one hour a week, or more, your generosity is priceless! This is something you can do for yourself, and you will never imagine the impact it has on others. My son and I have always said that we like to “pay it forward”. We are truly blessed to have a good life and great friends. Please join my family and the staff at Oneupweb in lending a helping hand in your community. If you are not sure where to begin, here are a few great places to start: VolunteerMatch.org, 1800Volunteer.org, and LiveUnited.org. I know that we all have busy schedules and find it difficult to set aside some time, but with a little organizing and a positive attitude, I am sure you will find some time!