This week is National Volunteer Week, where organizations across the country celebrate and recognize their volunteers’ efforts. When thinking about HopeSprings Volunteers, and how we want to honor and appreciate them, all I can think about are the many reasons NOT to volunteer for HopeSprings:
Hilary’s Ten Reasons NOT to Volunteer with HopeSprings
- The volunteer Journey Training is too long! Who wants to give up an entire Saturday to learn about HIV and Cultural Humility?
- Even if you take the Journey Training you will probably forget everything you learned–what if you say the wrong thing to a Brother or Sister you are serving?
- You can barely get your own finances in order, so there’s no way you help someone in the Spring Forward Financial Literacy class. Does anyone really use a budget?
- You might need to drive into an unfamiliar part of the city and can’t find a parking spot (and you might have to parallel park!).
- The Brother or Sister on your Live Well Table may have very different life experiences than you and that might be uncomfortable. The people you are serving with on the Live Well Table may have a different approach than you and there may be conflicts. You may even get frustrated along the way. Who needs that?
- You work hard all week and don’t want to get up on a Saturday morning to help work in a kitchen with other people you don’t even know!
- Friday nights are for fun- Not going to a church kitchen to cook meals you don’t even get to eat.
- You’re an introvert!
- You work a full-time job; who has time to volunteer?
- It’s too cold outside!
If you are like me, you can totally understand why people choose NOT to volunteer with HopeSprings- These ARE VERY GOOD REASONS!
And yet, believe it or not, we have people who volunteer every week, every month, and every year with us to make a difference in the lives of the Brothers and Sisters we serve.
We have volunteers who:
- after working an 8-hour day, drive down to Baltimore City and serve at the Geraldine Young Family Life Center in our Spring Forward Finance Program.
- rearrange their busy schedules so they can meet with their brother or sister and their other Live Well Table members every week for an entire year! These Live Well Table members complete hours of training, listen to their Brother or Sister’s story and help them create goals. They walk with them on their journey in the face of all kinds of circumstances.
- as middle schoolers, give up one Friday night a month to help make casseroles to be delivered to JACQUES Initiative. (Heaven’s Kitchen)
- work or attend college all week and then get up on Saturday morning to assist for 3 hours in the kitchen at Moveable Feast.
- give up time with their families on Saturdays to come lead sections of the Journey Training.
- drive all the way across town to set up the HopeSprings Café at JACQUES Initiative and then take the time to get to know each one of the Brothers and Sisters who attend the HIV+ Support Group.
- work every year to make our HopeSprings banquet a success.
- wake up at the crack of dawn every year to walk and run in the Baltimore Running Festival to raise funds for HopeSprings.
- drive to Baltimore City on a day’s notice, and transport Brothers and Sisters to doctors’ appointments and field trips.
- we can call to help move furniture or pick up items on the same day.
- are in college full-time and then go help a Brother clean his apartment because he is too sick to do it on his own.
- agree to serve as Church Champions, taking on the responsibility to share about HopeSprings Volunteer Opportunities with their faith communities.
- willingly and enthusiastically provide leadership as a member of the Board of HopeSprings.
On behalf of all the Brothers and Sisters we serve though HopeSprings, we would like to say THANK YOU to all our volunteers. Thank You for choosing to serve with us. Thank you for inspiring us. Thank you for your compassion and willingness to make a difference. Thank you for ignoring all those great reasons not to volunteer with us and serving anyway. We are grateful.