Volunteering for Impact
Volunteering has impacted me in surprising ways, and I didn’t know what I didn’t know until I decided to get out into the community five years ago.
Volunteering taught me that my perception of “community” was very limited. Prior to my volunteering experience, community meant the area where I lived: the soccer moms with soccer kids, the restaurants, movie theaters and shopping malls. Oh, how much I was missing!
Now, I hear the word community and think of all the areas of need, of all the people who could use my support. I think of the school where the majority of children will eat their best meal of the day, and children who won’t be playing soccer after school at a neat and tidy park. But I also think of the determined and excited people who are working to change that.
Through this support, I see a sense of accomplishment – not only from those volunteering, but also in the community members we are supporting. One may think that the purpose of volunteering would be to impact others’ lives – while that is very true, the impact on MY life has been eye opening and rich.
If I could sum up my feelings of volunteering in my community in one word, it would be “impact.” Impact in an area of need. Impact in the life of one child. The impact of making a difference, no matter how small. We never know when our one small gesture will inspire another person.
I challenge you today to find a cause you are passionate about and take the time to volunteer. United Way’s Emerging Leaders program offers volunteer opportunities such as the STAR Readers Project, Fit Kids Project, and $en$e-Ability Project. If you are not exactly sure what you are interested in, try a variety of opportunities until you find that one you connect with!
Nonprofits rely on the drive and participation of volunteers like you to help them help others!
Heather Harney works at State Street Corporation and has been involved with United Way since 2008 when she chaired the Giving Campaign for State Street’s Sacramento office. You can often find Heather volunteering at various events, serving on the Leadership Council of UWCCR’s Emerging Leaders, and trying to engage fellow employees at State Street in community support. When Heather isn’t working she is often training with her running team or wake surfing in Folsom Lake.