Anyone that knows me knows that I am a passionate Make-A-Wish supporter. After interning with the Northeast New York Chapter in Albany, I was hooked. Once I accepted my first job in Syracuse, NY, I became involved with the local chapter there. It has impacted my life in many different ways, which I am excited to share with you. Here are the four lessons that volunteering has taught me:
1. Always be humble.
When you meet with families of children facing life threatening illnesses, it puts your life in a new perspective. It can be so easy to let small things consume you or bring you down. It could be getting angry at a slow driver on your commute to work (hey, that’s me), becoming impatient while waiting in line for something or feeling that your day is doomed when you spill coffee on your shirt. When you think about what others are facing, it doesn’t seem so bad. I try to focus on what I’m grateful for, which is something I recently just started doing by keeping a grateful journal.
2. There’s more good in the world than bad.
When times are rough, there is a community that rallies together. When a princess playhouse one of my Wish Kids asked for was revealed, there were so many friends and family members wearing t-shirts bearing her name in support. Another family had meals delivered every day for one month while their son was in and out of the hospital. The mother was speechless; she couldn’t believe that for 30 or so days straight, a new person showed up on her doorstep with enough food to feed her 5-person family twice over. Nowadays, it seems like all we hear on the news is negative, but there are so many generous people doing selfless things that go unnoticed by the rest of the world.
3. There’s no shortage of incredibly strong people.
As a volunteer for Make-A-Wish, I see A LOT. I meet a lot of Wish Kids and families and after hearing some of their stories, it is truly remarkable how in bad times, there is so much strength. You would never know that the child has a serious illness or that the parents are living a continuous nightmare. They find the courage to fight every day for their child and hold on to the good in life. It is so inspiring.
4. Help is needed everywhere.
Between interning and volunteering my time with Make-A-Wish, I’ve learned in some aspects just how much work goes into a non-profit. Not only is an organization dependent on its passionate employees who work tirelessly every day, but it also relies on an army of volunteers, interns and supporters to make ends meet and hit their financial goals. I’m sure this is true for any non-profit, and experiencing it first-hand makes me realize how big of an operation it is.
Do you volunteer? What have you learned from your experiences?
Author: Lauren Taylar
Lauren Taylar is a digital marketer and blogger. She is a graduate of the State University of New York at Oswego, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in public relations. When she’s not volunteering her time with Make-A-Wish, you can find her reading a travel magazine and sipping a glass of hard cider or wine.