by Sherry GarciaI get it. You're busy. Very busy. Work, kids, spouse, gym, social life. Just making it through the day is a challenge. How do you fit in volunteering even it it's for a cause you think is worth your time? I put this question in the rhetorical category a long time ago and used my busy lifestyle as an excuse to keep it there. I am embarrassed to admit that this was my attitude for all of my adult life. This year I decided to challenge that attitude and volunteer for the first time. So why did I decide to pop my 'volunteer cherry'? I blame it all on my good friend Tammy.
I met Tammy 2 years ago in my neighbourhood dog park. We shared a common interest - we had both just become first-time dog mommies. It didn't take me long to realize that Tammy is a dynamo; she works crazy hours, she has a prolific social life and she works tirelessly for a charity called Answering Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (T.T.P.) Foundation That's what she does but it's how she does it that makes it really hard for me to say no to her. She smiles. A lot. She's got this funny little laugh that you'll hear within 10 seconds of starting a conversation with her. No matter how busy she is she always has time for you. She is one of those people that you just can't wait to see again. She is also the kind of person who makes it hard to justify my anti-volunteering attitude. If she can fit it into her life how can I justify staying on the side-lines? The short answer is I can't. But I promised you 5 reasons to volunteer and, not to worry, I haven't gone off-topic. Tammy is a big part of reason # 1.
- You will meet amazing people. Tammy is just one of the dynamic people on the Chance for Change committee. Chance for Change is an annual gala event held to benefit Answering T.T.P. In the last two meetings I sat spell-bound as great idea after great idea was put forward. Everyone had something to contribute, no matter their background, experience or even their age (we have two volunteers under 16). Which leads to # 2.
- You will be able to contribute something special to the group. This might be the fifth anniversary for Chance for Change but it is only the second year that it will be held at a public venue. There are new things to try and improvements to be made. And new ideas are warmly encouraged by Tammy (Chair) and Kelly (Vice Chair). At my first meeting I felt comfortable, though still a little nervous, contributing to the discussions.
- You'll feel good knowing that you're making a big difference for people in your community. Read Sydney's story and be inspired. She's a brave, fearless person who is not accepting her fate but actively challenging her disease to try and stop her from accomplishing her dreams. Trudeau might have said "just watch me" first but Sydney embodies that attitude every day. Sydney is just one of the people in Canada dealing with TTP. All their stories are inspiring and, with so few resources available to them, your efforts have a direct impact on their lives. Literally. You can't get more IRL (in real life) than that.
- You don't have to give up watching The Bachelor. Honestly, you will still be able to watch your favourite TV shows because the time requirement is really not as bad as you think. These people are organized. While the process might not quite be a well-oiled machine it certainly doesn't squeak. Of course as we get closer to the event things will get busier but I'm looking forward to the laughs, friendships and memories that will happen along the way.
- You will become one of the amazing people that I'll talk about next year. It's a cheesy reason, I know, but it's true. Next year I guarantee you will be inspiring new volunteers.
Talk to you soon,