Volunteering can mean so many different things. Weeks spent building a house, days spent at the community shelter serving food, hours spent working with youth or the elderly, or even minutes spent donating food to a local food bank, volunteering has a wide range of options.
Growing up, my father spent time as a foreman for a non-profit housing organization. He helped hundreds of volunteers use their strengths, many of which they didn’t know they had, to build house after house for families that couldn’t afford a typical home.
During those years, I saw college students, former housing applicants, even children take time out of their lives to make a difference in the community. The act of kindness seemed to impact each person in different ways, but there was always something they learned and something left behind.
One family took only a few hours out of their Saturday to put up some siding, paint a couple walls and hammer a few nails. I remember the parents chatting with their two kids, each too young for high school, about what they accomplished. The kids didn’t get paid or treated with a big bowl ice cream, they received nothing in return but the pride of a task completed and a difference made.
The kids were able to see their efforts laid out right before their eyes. They knew that because of their time, a family less fortunate than themselves now has a crisp looking bedroom and protective siding on their new home. The conversations reflected from the kids showed they understood the pride their parents also felt and understood the appreciation an unknown person now has for their Saturday spent away from playing games or watching TV.
I always looked up to my father for his leadership in guiding the volunteering efforts. He has an ability to gather dozens or more people every week and lead them all on a selfless act of giving back is something that I have tried to echo in my new role as a father. My child is too young now to volunteer, but I have seen first hand how it can build character, pride and humanitarianism.
Only a few hours of volunteering makes a difference. It is quite powerful what one act of kindness can do for another person, and the smile you get back, well that can change your whole perspective on life.
DREAM foundation has many different ways to make an impact. A few dollars for a donation, or maybe take a few hours to volunteer. If you’re not sure how you’d like to volunteer, we have many different options, just reach out and we can help you find the perfect fit.