Maximum Impact: Giving Back for 7 Days to Recognize National Volunteer Week

Giving Feature

Happy National Volunteer Week!

I hope this blog post finds you giving back in some wonderfully great way.

As my calendar started to take shape for this week, I decided to put on my philanthropic hat once a day – give back in some way for seven consecutive days.

Again, I’m not pounding on my chest and/or looking for praise – I simply want to share my passion for giving back with hopes that one person takes notice, gets motivated and says, “I want volunteer, too!”

It doesn’t have to be an army of people – or even a large group – I just hope I can inspire one person to roll up their sleeves and start giving back.

Here is a snapshot of my week (I also provided some statistics about each organization, the event or volunteering in general):

SUNDAY

– Volunteered at Big Taste for Big Brothers Big Sisters

• This is a fantastic event held in downtown Fort Worth. I ate a lot of delicious food, had a couple glasses of wine, and helped with the clean up. Reminder: Giving back doesn’t mean you have to bust concrete – it can be light and fun.

Stat: Big Taste raised approximately $135,000 to help mentor kids across North Texas.

MONDAY

– Attended Western Region Board Meeting for BBBS

• The Tarrant County Junior Board – which I’m heavily involved in – received an invitation to attend this meeting. It was a great chance to re-spark my passion for Big Brothers Big Sisters and share where we are going as a junior board.

Stat: Children with a mentor in their lives are 52 percent less likely to skip school. (source: BBBS)


TUESDAY

– Took my Little Brother (BBBS) with me to Presbyterian Night Shelter 

• I love taking Anthony (right) to the shelter with me. He is so engaged with the clients and eager to lend a helping hand. It is great to combine two things I care about very deeply.

Stat: Volunteering heightens psychological, social and intellectual development and growth in adolescents. (source: Kids Care)

WEDNESDAY

– Completed my application – which included getting a TB test – to be a mentor within local jails.

• My M.O. for giving back has evolved since I started volunteering on a regular basis. I believe that everyone deserves a fighting chance to be successful. That’s why I’m involved with BBBS and the shelter. I think adding prison mentoring to my volunteer activities is the next logical step.

Stat: According to government reports, 30 percent of released prisoners are rearrested within the first six months and 44 percent within the first year. (source: Change.org)

THURSDAY (Earth Day)

– Attending Volunteer Appreciation Party for Presbyterian Night Shelter

– Planting a tree

• I was recently named Volunteer of the Year at PNS, and I am being recognized at the volunteer appreciation party. (Blog post on why I volunteer at the shelter.)

• In conjunction with Earth Day, I am planting a tree in our front yard. I tried this once before but the tree died. FAIL! If I’m successful this time around, I will get to mark No. 65 off my list AGAIN. (Click here to see original blog post)

Stat: Only 26.8 percent of the population volunteered in 2009 – mostly white women between ages of 35 and 44 years old. (source: Bureau of Labor Statistics)

FRIDAY 

– Donating books and other items to Safe Haven, a shelter for abused women

– Running audio/visual equipment for men’s fellowship at church

• Got the idea to donate books to victims of domestic violence from the wonderfully great book “How to be An Everyday Philanthropist.” The author, Nicole Boles, points out: “Women who have no fixed address or who are on the run from violent partners don’t have the luxury of taking their favorite books (or their children’s) along with them.”

Stat: Approximately 1.3 million women and 835,000 men are physically assaulted by an intimate partner annually in the United States. (source: American Bar Association)

SATURDAY

– Running audio/visual equipment for men’s fellowship at church

– Playing frisbee golf with my Little Brother

• Great way to close out a busy week.

• I was already going to attend the two-day men’s conference – “A Credible Man” – so I thought I would put my degree from Midwestern State to work.

• Since Anthony agreed to help out at the shelter on Tuesday night, I thought it was important that we did something fun. My wife made plans to go out of town with the baby, and she encouraged me to use that free time to hang out with Anthony.

Stat: There are 1,500 kids on the BBBS waiting list in North Texas. These are kids – just like Anthony – begging for a mentor.

REMINDER: This is NOT a typical week for me. Like I said before, I REALLY put an emphasis on giving back these seven days for #VOLWK. I’ll take a much needed break next week.

If you are interested in giving back, here are few tips to get started:

• Don’t shoot for the moon (e.g. seven consecutive days of volunteering)

• Keep it simple (Examples: Buy Girl Scout Cookies, donate toiletry items to a homeless shelter, recycle)

• Figure out what tugs at YOUR heart strings

• Be creative (e.g. Donating books to abused women’s shelter)

• Make it part of something you’re already doing (e.g. Growing a garden? Plant an extra row for a needy family.)

NEVER STOP GIVING BACK!

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