Volunteer Appreciation Month

in Ambition for a Lifetime
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 “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” – William Shakespeare

During April, charities and communities are taking a moment to celebrate the many efforts of their volunteers.  This has been a practice in place since 1974. By doing this, not only does it show our gratitude, but also it fosters a culture of service to others.

Volunteering began at an early age for me. Both of my parents worked in law enforcement and brought me along with them to many community events. Helping at these events both large and small made me feel connected to my neighbors. The smiles on the faces of the people we were helping made me feel intrinsically good about what we were doing. There were also several times that because of the nature of my parents profession that we were able to help a family or individual who was experiencing difficult times. As a result, finding places to give back to others was just something we did and not optional in my mind. The philanthropic opportunities sorority life presented was one of the many aspects that drew me to membership. Having a variety of ways to serve my college and community also helped me try new opportunities. Since my collegiate days I have found many ways to continue to serve. As a school principal I have the ability to make a difference in the lives of the families my school serves daily, but outside of school I have found that partnering with others is my favorite volunteerism approach because there truly is volume in numbers.

Volunteering may be something you already do or maybe you are just reaching a point in life where you feel like you have time to give to a cause.

Why volunteer?

Here are some positive results noted by others.

  1. Networking with other volunteers can improve your career resources.
  2. Develop life skills such as speaking and listening.
  3. It allows you to share your skills and talents with others.
  4. Making a difference in the lives of others.
  5. It is the right thing to do.

Volunteering for AOII can take many forms and is flexible to your personal interests and time commitments. Your sisters understand that during your post-graduate life you have time for different portions of the “slice of Pi.”

Some alumnae find their passion in local alumnae chapter service. It is through these relationships that they find career networking, camaraderie and bonds of sisterhood beyond their own collegiate chapter. Alumnae chapters offer volunteer opportunities such as chairing a single event or fundraiser or larger experiences such as serving as Alumnae Chapter President. AOII alumnae leaders also appreciate those sisters who they can simply count on for attendance at events such as the Jingle Bell Run and Founders’ Day. Time commitments among alumnae advisers who serve collegiate chapters also varies. Alumnae volunteers at the collegiate level can serve as a direct adviser to collegiate officers or demonstrate their lifelong loyalty to AOII by supporting the chapters’ efforts during recruitment or other philanthropic activities. Some of our alumnae gain experience at the local level and move on to network and AOII international volunteer experiences where they serve multiple chapters and across states and provinces. These AOII volunteer roles each provide our sisters with a cross-trained skill set that is applicable to their careers and other community volunteer experiences.

Challenge

Do you work with volunteers?  How can you show your gratitude to them?

  1. Build a relationship with them.
  2. Feed them!
  3. Make them feel special and remember little things like their birthday.
  4. Give them swag.
  5. Provide shout outs on social media!
  6. Give them the gift of your time.
  7. Show them the results of their efforts.

Dive Deeper

What kind of volunteer are you? Visit the websites below and find a quiz to take, or use the quick flow chart on the right to find out. Are the areas you volunteer in suited for your personality? Where might you want to serve? See what you find out.

Reward Volunteers offers this quiz to determine the volunteer role that matches your personality: Volunteer Quiz

Volunteer Match officers a quiz here that matches you to organizations that fit your interests: Where Should You Volunteer?

Many individuals who volunteer sometimes become overcommitted. You never want to spread yourself too thin. Life balance influences the joy you experience as a volunteer. Sometimes saying NO, is the best yes. Check out this article on when it is best to say no! Volunteering When You Need to Just Say No

Finding the right volunteer match for your personal and professional life can make for an experience that enriches your life. Remember that volunteering for AOII can mean just finding the “slice of Pi,” that fits you at this moment right now. AND… your volunteer experiences with other organizations often bring to AOII new ideas and approaches that are valuable.

Volunteers play a special role in the fabric of our society. Your efforts no matter what role you choose, are greatly appreciated!

Laura Dunlap is an alumna of Kappa Tau (Southeastern Louisiana U) and a member of the Education Committee.

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