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Taking a break from blogging

Hello:

Please note that while I continue to volunteer, I'm taking a break from blogging.

Thanks and happy volunteering!

Cheryl

Faith in volunteering

August 5, 2013

One of the most controversial topics a person can talk about is religion. With that in mind, I want to keep this post generic, but I still want to share what I’m doing with my life these days as it’s important for the direction of where my volunteering efforts are growing.

My immediate family is not religious. However, I do have relatives of various religious backgrounds and have explored faith with them, some of my friends, and even independently, off and on throughout my life. That said, I have never been baptized. Nor have I ever belonged to a church.

As I’ve gotten older and thought more about what I want for myself and my own family, I knew I wanted religion to be a part of it. Officially. Aside from the religious aspect of it, belonging to a local church provides an opportunity to really make a difference in my community. Who better knows the needs of a community than the people right in it? And through faith, I am easily joined with like-minded people who also want to make a difference and help improve the lives of people in our immediate surroundings.

I’ve found some incredibly unique and worthwhile volunteer opportunities through church – from feeding our homeless to providing school supplies to collecting/packing/sorting donations for church fundraisers to helping bring Christmas to those less fortunate…I finally have an outlet to provide baked goods for drives to raise money for missions and everything else you can imagine. I’ve even baked bread for communion. Is there any bigger honor than that?! The list goes on.

Over the years, I’ve been fortunate to a part of so many various organizations and put my time and energy into some worthwhile causes. But this next chapter of my life I plan to focus more on getting involved at church. We’ve found a wonderful place in our neighborhood and I’m proud to share that I’m getting baptized soon. While I’ve already began volunteering with them, there is always a need for something else and I plan to see how much more I can help. I’m excited.

I know not everyone is religious. And that there are a million other ways to get involved in our communities. This is just the right time for me to focus on my faith and my volunteering. And for that, I feel so blessed.

Happy volunteering.

Giving back on Independence Day

July 8, 2013
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S and I were really proud of our times volunteering for A-SPAN. Fighting homelessness right in our own neighborhood was important to us. When we moved, we didn’t know where our outreach would move to as well, but it didn’t mean we’d have to stop supporting this organization as well. So we didn’t!

Two days before the 4th of July, we had yet to make solid plans. When we received an email from A-SPAN saying they were still in need of support for their Homeless Bagged Meal Program, we were sold. So much so, we both saw the email at the same time and forwarded it each other at the exact time! One of the many reasons I love him!!! We hadn’t volunteered together since Valentine’s Day, and randomly, that was also for A-SPAN.

Last time I helped prep meals for this program, all I had to do was show up and help pack everything. And there was a large group of us that made it go quickly. This time, it was just Scott and me.

Our assignment seemed simple enough: buy groceries to make 150 sandwiches, and 70 bagged meals that included two sandwiches, two snacks, fruit and a drink. Then pack them up and deliver them to a park in Arlington. So we bought baggies, bread, turkey, ham, cheese, pb&j, chips, snacks, and water. Then we spent a good part of the day assembling everything. Whew!

Eventually we got into a good assembly groove and were making sandwich after sandwich with ease. But then came the difficult part: how to keep the bagged meals cold? Once made, the coolers we had wasn’t going to be enough to hold everything. We stuffed our fridge and bought ice for the drinks since it was over 90 degrees that day. And let them chill for a while before waiting until the last moments possible to assemble everything.

After the prepping and packing was all said it done, we had a car full of meals and some tired hands. And when we delivered them and saw the line of people waiting for them, it was so worth it. Every meal was handed out that day, divided among two locations. It was a lot of work, but we know there were a lot less people hungry on the street that night.

Interested in supporting A-SPAN this way? It’s a good opportunity for a youth group, athletic team, etc. Learn more here.

To blog or not to blog? That is the question.

July 1, 2013

It has been a pretty amazing year so far…On top of buying our first house together, S and I got engaged!! That said it has been a hectic spring/summer of moving, decorating, lawn care, and wedding planning. On top of working full-time. Unfortunately, that has meant almost no free-time for volunteering. And subsequently, no volunteering means nothing to blog about.

I’ve really struggled with whether or not to keep this blog active or shut it down for good, but the thought of it kind of breaks my heart. The only thing I love more than volunteering is talking about volunteering! I love hearing stories from friends and complete strangers telling me I’ve inspired them to get more active in their community. That’s exactly why I like sharing my experiences, and don’t want to stop.

Time management is tough right now. But there’s an opportunity for volunteering in virtually every time frame, and there will always be a need for volunteers. And I’m a big proponent of no-strings attached volunteering – meaning you can find a one-time opportunity when time permits through sites like onebrick.org and volunteermatch.org.

So I’ve decided, no matter how infrequently I get a chance to post, I’m just going to keep doing it when time allows. And who knows, in a few months, things might slow down again and I get back to more regular volunteering and posting.

Blog soon.

Inauguration volunteering & National Day of Service opportunities

January 13, 2013

Yesterday I received a very exciting phone call from the Presidential Inaugural Committee. Once again, I was selected to volunteer for the upcoming inauguration! Four years ago, I was one of thousands selected to participate in PIC volunteering, but it was more behind the scenes. However, this time I was going to be front and center with the activities at the Swearing-In ceremony. I can hardly wait for my volunteer training next week.

While I’m excited for what’s to come on Jan. 21st, have you thought about what you want to do to get involved for the upcoming National Day of Service on January 19th? This is the President’s annual call to service, and conveniently enough, the PIC website has a simple location-based volunteer tool to help you find a way to get involved in your community. Check it out.

I’m waiting for my assignment to come through, but looking forward to participating. Hopefully you find something that works for you too! Know of someone that needs help that day? Post an opportunity here too and we’ll help spread the word.

Volunteering day one of the New Year

January 2, 2013

As 2011 came to a close, I volunteered with A-SPAN serving dinner on the streets as part of the Homeless Bagged Meal Program. However, there were no volunteer openings on New Year’s Eve 2012. So I settled on the next best opportunity: serving dinner at A-SPAN’s emergency winter shelter (EMS) on New Year’s Day. What a way to kick off the New Year – helping those in my community who are most in need. Even better, my boyfriend was able to help out this time around.

Scott and I served the ginourmous blackened turkey his family had donated, plus food prepared from DC Central Kitchen. It took less than two hours, and fortunately we had a regular volunteer on-hand to show us the ropes. We were able to stretch the turkey so that all the residents received some, and even seconds if they wanted it! After cleaning up, we were on way. It was that easy to get involved. Plus, everyone was kind and respectful.

The A-SPAN EMS is open from November 1 through March 31st. It does exactly what is sounds like: provides a place of comfort out of the cold through the winter months. There are plenty of opportunities to get involved during this time – everything from serving dinner like we did to helping with check-in and more. A-SPAN needs multiple volunteers every day to keep the shelter running smoothly. Check out their website for more details and how to get involved.

Scott and I decided we wanted to become regular volunteers here so we’ve both signed up for future assignments. We hope to see you there sometime soon!

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