There are lots of reasons to volunteer, but for me the most important are:
- Getting to know nice people with the potential to form new friendships
- Learning new subject matter or a new skill
- Making a difference in people’s lives
- Giving back, that is, doing my share
I have done quite a bit of volunteering in the past few years – as secretary of the quilt guild, secretary of my homeowners association, instructor of an OLLI class, literacy volunteer, and tax preparer. The reality of my volunteer experiences has included items 2-4, above, but there never seems to be an opportunity to get to know the other volunteers and to have social relationships.
By and large, my volunteer experiences have been responsible, unpaid work. I have changed my expectations to focus on satisfaction gained from learning a new skill and knowing that the volunteer effort is helping people. Because these experiences feel like work, I have decided to only make short-term commitments and to live in and enjoy the moment as much as I can.