Working mother and passionate volunteer Jamie O’Bryan has been giving her time to various organizations and religious causes for most of her adult life. Somehow, between raising her four children and maintaining her upward track on the corporate ladder, Jamie O’Bryan has also found plenty of time to volunteer in the community and in the parish. Here Jamie O’Bryan shares some simple tips on volunteering for those who may be interested, but unsure where to begin.
- Find a cause that moves you. This is one of those forehead-slappers that you can’t believe needs to be said, according to Jamie O’Bryan, but it does; if you are going to be a good volunteer, you have to find something that you want to volunteer for. For Jamie O’Bryan, that means the Girl Scouts of America; coaching youth sports; leading religious retreats; and helping organize nonprofit businesses. For you, it could be spending time at an animal shelter, or feeding the homeless at a soup kitchen. There are tons of volunteering opportunities in all different fields, says Jamie O’Bryan; the key is finding one that is a good fit for you.
- Start small. Try dipping your toe in the water first, before diving right in, advises Jamie O’Bryan. Volunteer for an hour a week, or once a month. Start to get a feel for the type of work you’ll be doing, and whether you think you can do more. Many volunteers end up getting burned out by taking on too much responsibility too quickly, says Jamie O’Bryan, which leads her to her next point:
- Remember why you’re doing it. It’s easy to lose sight of the higher goal when you are bogged down in the day-to-day reality of the work, says Jamie O’Bryan. Make sure to take a step back every now and then, take stock, and remember why you decided to make this commitment. It will help to recharge your battery to remember why you’re there, says Jamie O’Bryan. The big picture is almost always prettier than the everyday reality, but Jamie O’Bryan thinks that’s the point; you are working to bring the reality just a bit closer to the ideal every day. Keeping a mindset like Jamie O’Bryan’s wouldn’t hurt a bit.
There are many resources available for the interested potential volunteer, according to Jamie O’Bryan; check your parish’s bulletin board, or your community center, or try a Google search in your area; you may be surprised at the wealth of opportunities around you.