I Believe That, When I Volunteer, I Receive More Than I Give

Maria - Tulsa, Oklahoma
Entered on March 1, 2009
Age Group: 50 - 65

I Believe That,

When I Volunteer, I Receive More Than I Give

Volunteers usually name many altruistic reasons for performing good deeds.

But, when I volunteer, much to my amazement, I find fate always turns my good works back on myself, and I’m the one who benefits most. This is why I Believe that, When I Volunteer I Receive More Than I Give.

I’m a humanitarian as much as the volunteer working next to me. I want to better the world, too. But I also volunteer for selfish reasons. Sometimes I volunteer just to meet new people, connect with the community, learn new skills or even just lift my spirits. And I pick an activity that interests me, something which gives me pleasure while I’m helping others.

I first noticed how much I benefited from volunteering when I devoted my services to KPFK, an NPR radio station in Los Angeles, many years ago. I used to spin records for the music show hosts, who were extremely entertaining and original.

Since I had a Federal Communications License, the station’s engineer asked me if I would baby-sit their transmitter on a desolate hill in east LA. There I sat, soaking up the sun in between taking meter readings, when I met the chief engineer of a top-10 L.A. FM radio station. We got to talking and he hired me right on the spot for a summer relief job. He said, “Any woman who’d be out here with the spiders and tarantulas is good enough for me.” I was the first female he had ever employed.

The phenomenon continues to this day. I do community service at a Catholic Charities medical clinic as part of a Spanish interpretation class. Because our clients are 90% Hispanic, my Spanish has improved exponentially, and I’ve sampled the tastiest Mexican food.

I’ve volunteered at a Red Cross shelter after Hurricane Katrina and the Nature Conservancy, taking people on hikes through protected forests. I’ll never be Mother Teresa, but I do make a difference in my corner of the world, and sometimes abroad. It truly makes me a happier, more fulfilled person.

This is why I Believe, that When I Volunteer, I Receive More Than I Give.