A volunteer shared something recently. Its from the cover of a volunteer orientation booklet. A quote by Margaret Mead:
“We live in a society that always has depended on volunteers of different kinds – – some who can give money, others who give time, and a great many who freely give of their special skills, full time or part time. If you look closely, you will see that almost anything that really matters to us, anything that embodies our deepest committment to the way human life should be lived and cared for, depends on some form– more often, many forms–of volunteerism.”
One of our volunteers deflected some praise to me, saying “she really helped me”. He had just finished speaking to 1,200 students at a mock crash. He stood up owned what he had done. He was speaking with the officer who was on the scene the day of the fatal crash. The officer removed his sunglasses to offer thanks and feedback to the young man. I overheard him say something about how good it was to see the speaker doing good. That is when the praise got deflected to me. Thats how humble our volunteer is. SCVRJP couldn’t reach out to people if we didn’t have story tellers to share the worse thing that ever happened.
Our board, the governance of this non-profit is also done by volunteers. Volunteers help explain community perspective to people who have caused harm. It means something different coming from a volunteer. As much as I love my job, and restorative justice, people know that I am paid to be here. Paid positions don’t represent community like volunteers do.
A client was in Circle waiting for things to start. I was sitting in my seat, directing people that we needed to sit with volunteers not right next to each other. In a completely confused and slightly cynical voice, the client asked, “why would ANYONE volunteer to be here?” I smiled, when I really wanted to chuckle. Sure enough as she left that night, SHE was thinking about volunteering.
My grammer is better because someone volunteered some writing tips! Thanks Melinda! Volunteers are all around me, they help in every aspect of my life and work. I had coffee with someone from another agency today, she was volunteering time with me as we brainstormed about another collaborative team we serve on. You simply can not exist without giving your time and volunteering for someone else. You may as well make in meaningful!
I hope you find the Mead quote as powerful as I have. If you are in my area and you want to volunteer, you know where I work!