by Carey Unger (Nu Omicron, Vanderbilt U), International Vice President
“As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands — one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.” — Audrey Hepburn
As we move through the spring and in to April, the month where volunteers everywhere are formally thanked for all their valuable contributions, I cannot help but pause to reflect on the impact that we have when we freely give our time, energy and love to Alpha Omicron Pi and those organizations and charitable causes that it supports.
As Audrey Hepburn so eloquently describes above, much intrinsic satisfaction is gained when we realize we have the ability to improve someone else’s world through our own efforts. As a member of Alpha Omicron Pi, we are able to generously volunteer in our communities, contribute to charitable events and truly make a difference in others’ lives. By looking at our volunteer impact through this lens, it is easy to see the power a group of passionate women can have on improving the world around us.
In addition to this traditional type of volunteering, I am also struck by the impact we have when we volunteer our time and energy to lead within our organization. Leadership happens at all levels, both formally and informally…when a collegiate woman volunteers on a committee or voluntarily assumes a chapter leadership position, when a sister choses to continue to contribute after her college days by advising or serving the Fraternity on a standing committee, when an alumna member leads a local alumnae chapter or helps plan a Founders Day event…the list goes on and on and every volunteer contribution is important and matters.
I once heard Susan Bonifield, fellow XB member, respond to the question of why she continues to volunteer/serve with the answer “Because someone did it once for me.” That answer has stuck in my mind for years and I have subsequently heard other Fraternity leaders talk about the same sentiment, our obligation to reach out to another woman around us and serve in a way as someone once did for us. Whether she knows it or not, Susan (and her passion to volunteer and serve in this capacity and for these reasons) is probably the single largest influencer in my AOII volunteer journey. Susan not only talks the talk, she walks the walk. Our volunteer impact, in addition to directly impacting those that we serve, has the ripple effect of inspiring others to do the same.
Never underestimate the power you can have on your community, on the world, and most importantly on others in our Fraternity by extending that extra hand through volunteering and serving. AOII gives us a great menu of opportunities from which to pick where we volunteer our efforts. Chose one, chose many, but most importantly make a good use of that second hand and that big AOII heart and make a difference! Your volunteer service matters.