Finding Satisfaction Through Volunteer Service
In today’s fast-paced society, it is easy to get focused on ourselves and our goals—to become a bit self-absorbed. But those who have been around long enough know that only taking care of you doesn’t lead to long-term happiness. No, some of the greatest satisfactions in life come from serving others, from the knowledge that you have brightened someone’s day or improved their life. Giving of your time gives you purpose, and helps you connect more deeply with others—and life without purpose and interpersonal connections is no life at all.
When I first arrived in To many years ago I sought out an organization to begin volunteering with and got steered to Central Neighbourhood House and became a Big Sister. The first experiences were challenging and racism reared its ugly head with my being told by a mother that she didn’t want “no n——-r around her child”.
The contact who had taken me to the home was shocked and didn’t know what to say but the young girl told her Mum “I want to go with her”. She had put on her best blue dress for the occasion and she was ready and so was I.
I was her Big Sister for over 5 years until they moved out of Toronto and then I met another little girl, 6 years old and a one-year relationship lasted for over 20 years.
I am a big advocate of volunteering. I believe that servant leadership is one of the best ways to find joy in life. And the reality is that many of us have been born into lives of privilege that the majority of the world’s inhabitants don’t have. Simply living here in Canada means that we have more than most, but when we work to restore balance and make sure that all are provided for, we actually make the world a better place for everyone—us included. Volunteering your time, talents, and resources means building a better tomorrow for your children and neighbors, and the future that we leave for the coming generations is our only true legacy.
Whether it is through work at a soup kitchen, an animal shelter, a community organization, a church group, or some other volunteer outlet, this type of work is what reminds us that we are part of a global family. Caring for others—even those we don’t know—opens our hearts and helps us to regain the natural empathy and generosity that we exhibit as young children, before life gets in the way and starts to mold us into selfish, self-concerned individuals.
I, for one, want to remember to be that empathetic, generous child for the rest of my life—and volunteering is one way that I can do so.
You won’t regret it! I never have.