Taking a Break from Volunteering

I have been an active volunteer for all of my adult life. With five kids, you almost have to actively avoid volunteering if your kids are involved in any activities at all. So I have been a room parent, a girl scout leader, a school district and preschool, elementary, middle, and high school volunteer, a PSR teacher and church volunteer, a drama club parent, band parent, and cross country and track parent.

In all the years that I have been volunteering, I have only backed out of one volunteer choice and that was because it wasn’t a good fit for me.

MOTC 05 31 2007 (1)

Some of my twin mom friends.

The thing about volunteering is that you get so much more than you give. My life has been enriched by my volunteer experiences, and I have made many friends along the way. I have loved volunteering and spending time giving back to my community.

I also think volunteering provides good role modeling for our children. I am happy that my children volunteered when they were in school and not just to fulfill requirements in other areas. They continued their volunteering in college with leadership positions in their sororities, and I hope that they will continue to volunteer throughout their adult lives.

Scholarship Chairs 2012

Working the Scholarship Bakery table at the bi-annual twin club sale.

My longest running and largest volunteer commitment in terms of time and talents has been the 19 years I have spent on the board of a local non-profit parent organization that is solely run with volunteers. I love this organization, and I love being a member and volunteering to make it better.

After 19 years, however, I felt strongly that it was time to let the newer and younger members have their turn. To me, that is what keeps an organization relevant especially in a rapidly changing world. I gave up my most recent role as webmaster with this organization on which I have served in many capacities. Yes, a 50 something year old woman got to learn a lot of new skills managing the club’s membership site, working with a co-chair to maintain the website, and manage the social media sites. I have always liked technology and even though it required a lot of time in front of the computer, I enjoyed learning new things and helping our members and others. That is the beauty of volunteering – you can often learn new skills that you would not be given the opportunity to learn in a traditional work environment.

Band Banquet 2011-001

Attending banquets for various activities is part of the volunteer experience.

Last year, I made a decision to take a year off from all volunteering activities.

Why did I decide to take a break? Because I feel that I am in transition. In transition from one stage of life to another and that maybe it’s time to think about other ways to give back.

You know – that whole empty nester thing.

DSH and I have been talking about doing something together. He has worked so hard and so many hours during his career that he has been limited in his ability to spend much time volunteering.

XC Banquet 11 11 2010 (7)

Some of my Cross Country and Track mom friends.

So when a friend asked me to volunteer with a local child-centered organization, I went to the orientation, but I am holding back for now. I want to honor the commitment I made to myself to give myself a year. A year to think about what I want to do next.

Volunteering is important to me. I’ll be back.

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