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This week I had the opportunity to hang around a hospital waiting room while a relative was having a minor procedure. It is not the most fun I’ve had and certainly not how I would choose to spend the day.

But, I was there to support a loved one and their spouse.  By the way, there are a lot of scared and hurting people in a room like that. What I was truly amazed at was a gentle, rather elegant, older lady who was interacting with family members of patients having procedures. She would go to them and sweetly let them know the status of their loved one(s). She had such joy about her. Her words immediately relieved those who were patiently waiting for the doctor to come out.  I believe she was in her late 70’s.  She was a volunteering in her community and was honestly making a difference. She wasn’t the only one. There is a man that does this as well. He is 99 this year and you would never believe that if you saw him. The joy and peacefulness she brought to others while volunteering in her community was something that came from within.  She loves what she does.

There is something about giving yourself away!  It does something really nice for others, but it does something very good for you as well. Volunteering in your community helps you see things through different eyes. You’re not just focused on yourself. It is selfless. There are so many ways to volunteer in your community and be the hands and feet of Jesus. Of course, your church is always a good place to start, but many other options exist in your community as well.

Here are a few options of ways to begin volunteering in your community:

Volunteering in Your Community

Volunteer at your local elementary school.

You don’t have to have children to do this and there are many options!

  • Read to children
  • Help tutor children in something you care deeply about like math, spelling, languages, art, music, etc.
  • Help the teachers by grading or organizing things for them
  • Plan parties

Years ago when my oldest son was in kindergarden, there was a girl who was very shy and came from a very poor home. There was a great lack of attention to her personal care and her family hadn’t prioritized her education. The teacher asked if I would be willing to come to the school two or three days a week to sit and read to her. We would sit in a rocking chair together those few days a week and I would read to her. She evidently did not receive a lot of  “touch” from family members and it was so evident in her neediness. Throughout the school year she became more vocal and she did better in her class. She just needed someone who cared to be there for her consistently. I realize that all needs are not that drastic, but just showing up and helping with whatever is needed makes a huge difference.  You choose your spot, you be the one who is there. Give yourself away!

Other ways to volunteer:

  • A hospital
  • Your local library
  • Food kitchen or pantry
  • Walk a dog
  • Take an elderly person to get groceries
  • Run errands for someone who can’t get out
  • Read to people
  • Visit a nursing home and read, play bingo, hug someone
  • Try looking up your zip code in Google and learning about what’s around you. Chances are you’ll see needs you were previously unaware of.

How will you start volunteering in your community to make a difference in someones lives? What other ways can you think of that can impact your community and the people in it? Let’s be a Church that does something.

Give yourself away.

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Susan Malphurs is the Executive Vice President of the Malphurs Group, an HR, Outreach, and Leadership consultant, blogger at malphursgroup.com/blog, wife, mother, and grandmother. | @susanmalphurs