I slept and dreamt that life was joy.
I awoke and saw that life is service.
I acted and behold, service was joy.
Rabindranath Tagore, Indian poet
It took me a long time to realize just how important being of service is to me. I always liked to help others, and still do what I can, to “make myself useful” as my mom likes to say. Yet for a long while, I did not understand the overall effect acts of service had on my psyche. I have since learned it feels good to be helpful, appreciated and even needed. Although it can sometimes feel like work, the influence volunteering has on me is quite magical. I no longer think of it as effort but as an opportunity to bring joy into my life and those of others!
When I volunteer for something that touches my heart, I usually get to meet new people and make new friends at the same time. This helps me to get to know others in my community who are also doing their best to better the town we share. When I see so many others, taking time out of their lives, to be part of the effort required to make our community so great; it brings me hope for the future. It’s a wonderful reminder that there are lots of people like you and me who still care about our neighbors and do our best to spread joy.
When I give my time and join my neighbors who have the same intentions as I do; the results can be heartwarming and encouraging. I was recently elected to the board of our local Friends of the Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge Committee. I am so excited about the opportunity to be part of this program. ‘The Friends’ have started a Young Naturalist program that provides the children, from our local Elementary schools, the opportunity to learn through outdoor field trips and provide educational information at the Refuge, that’s a lot of fun for them!
I love this program so much, because I believe that getting children excited about nature is how we ensure they care about the environment when they grow up. To have this opportunity to make a real tangible effort that affects the children and other folks that enjoy the Refuge is exciting! The environment and protecting it is one of my true passions in life. Children are the future and I truly hope they care about the environment as much as I do when they grow up!
I think it is extremely important to have natural spaces that are free for our communities to enjoy. I first started going to the Wildlife Refuge several years ago; because it was full of beautiful hiking trails where I love to take my dogs for a walk. The trails are well maintained and safe, thanks to the funding they receive and the hard work of The Refuge employees and volunteers. Volunteering for an organization that is so near and dear to my heart and echoes the core of my beliefs really fires me up.
I try hard to make sure I am doing my best to bring good ideas, help where I am able, and put my skills to use. ‘The Friends’ Committee does much more beyond youth education. It also includes several subcommittees that have different purposes. I am on the Advocacy Committee which involves talking to Legislators and asking that they ensure our local Refuge will get the funding it needs to be maintained. Pretty sure I can do that!
I believe when you want to change the world you need to start in your own back yard… Volunteering and making a difference in my direct community is pretty darn cool in my mind. We often forget that politics are not just in our State Capitals or Washington D.C. Politics can happen in our towns, schools and even our parks. Being active in your community is the planting of seeds where the grassroots grow. We forget that politics is just putting our beliefs into action. It’s easy, fun and nothing to be afraid of!
Volunteering in other areas of the community has been an excellent opportunity to see the good in the world. We are all different but that’s what makes us so great! When you put us together for a good cause, great suggestions inspire miraculous action and happenings that truly do bring joy to each other and the community we share. How cool is that?!
I also Volunteer at a local animal rescue when I can. It has been a life changing experience that I enjoy and always has me going back for more!
What is your favorite volunteering experience? I’d love to hear what moves your heart!
Wishing you love and blessings,
Emy Minzel ~ Adventure Sister
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Stacy Crep ~ Adventure Sister