by Susan K. Stewart
You are a busy homeschool mom or dad, right? You already have many duties at home or at work; your time doesn’t seem your own. So why would you add one more thing to your busy life, no matter how good it sounds?
My life is filled to the brim: family, which now includes five grandkiddos; friends; business; chores that come with having a small ranch; and hobbies. I also volunteer with various civic organizations.
Here are some reasons:
• A Relief – My volunteer time is somewhat of a relief valve from the everyday of life. I get out with people of varying interest and backgrounds. Even after several hours of hard work, I return home refreshed and ready to tackle the mundane again.
• Make New Friends – I have friends that I would not have met if I didn’t serve with these organizations. When my children were home, most of our volunteer time was at church or with homeschool groups. Now I share my time with civic organizations. I meet a wide range of people, some Christian, some not.
• Use Your Talents and Gifts – How often have you thought, “Did God give me the gift of toy picking-up?” Some of us, no matter how we love our families and truly want to serve them, we have talents that don’t lend themselves to our family service. A trained medical professional may not find much opportunity to use that knowledge and gift at home (unless you have two boys). By volunteering at a local non-profit clinic, you can use those skills. You can also keep up with the latest information in the field.
• Share My Values – In one organization I volunteer with, I’ve had an amazing opportunity to share my values with others. I talk with staunchly pro-choice women about why I have a pro-life stance and provide material about the ills of Common Core Standards with a person running for Congress. I explain why I’m not readily available for activities on Sunday. What better way to teach your children than for them to watch you in action?
• Learn – This past year I’ve learned more about running an election campaign than I ever dreamed I would. When I volunteered at a local Crisis Pregnancy Center, not only did I learn more about counseling, but I also learned that I could make cold phone calls to ask for donations. Some of these lessons really stretched me as a person, but they have all been valuable for future endeavors.
• Focus on Others – You might be thinking that’s what you do all the time: laundry, cooking, driving, all for others. By volunteering, your service to others you are truly serving as Jesus explained in the Parable of the Samaritan. It’s not expected; it’s freely given. Whether that service is reading to children at the library once a month, serving meals at a homeless shelter, or making phone calls for a political cause you support, you are doing something from your heart. You are truly being a servant.
• Teach Your Children – Let’s face it–we’re homeschoolers; everything has a lesson in it. What better way to teach your children to serve the hungry, the poor, or the persecuted than actually doing it? One project we had when my children were at home was preparing Bibles to send to Christians in restricted countries. It wasn’t always fun to put the books in envelopes, label, and stamp. In fact, it could get boring, especially for the youngest who seemed always stuck with putting the stamps on.
• Maybe a Future Job – I started as a volunteer for CHEA, several years before I was offered a paid position. Volunteering gives you experience that an organization may need to fill a paid position. You also get a chance to “show” your capabilities in a was that a paper resume can’t.
• It’s the Right Thing – If you have a passion for something, that passion comes from God. If you have a talent, that talent comes from God. We are called to serve. It’s right to serve others in a variety of ways.
• Non-profits Need Volunteers – There is not a non-profit that doesn’t rely on volunteers. It may be cleaning the office after hours, making phones calls, or even leading the organization. Especially local non-profits don’t have the funds to pay for many of the jobs that need to be done. You are needed.
Certainly I’m not trying to place guilt on those of you who have very young children or infants that require more attention during this life season. You need to be where you are needed. However, even two- and three-year-olds can help. I started taking my children and grandchildren to help serve meals-on-wheels when they were three years old. They didn’t do much. Yes, it was troublesome getting them in and out of car seats. But the joy on the face of a person who might otherwise spend the alone was worth the effort. My children learned over the many years of this simple volunteer activity that they can gain more than the person being served.
CHEA has many opportunities for volunteers. Some tasks are year-round, while others are seasonal. Not all volunteers need to live in the Southern California area or come to the office. If God is calling you to this service, go to the volunteer opportunities page and learn how you can serve California homeschoolers while serving CHEA.
Copyright 2015. Susan K. Stewart. Known for practical solutions to real-world situations, Susan K. Stewart is a teacher, writer, and speaker. Susan teaches Steps to Your Homeschool Philosophy, Writing for the Homeschool Market, and other classes online and at conferences. Susan is the author of three books, including Preschool: At What Cost? Her current work in progress is Practical Guide to Formatting e-Books for Writers. Susan lives in Texas with her husband, Bob, three dogs, three cats, five chickens, and a peacock. The Stewarts have three children and five grandchildren. www.practicalinspirations.com.