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  • 1.  Your best volunteer experience

    Posted 04-12-2022 16:29
    What did your best volunteer experience look like? Was it large or small? Recurring? Done through work or your place of worship? With friends? Volunteer experiences can come in all shapes and sizes. 

    I've enjoyed volunteering the most when it's given me a chance to work with others. It can be hard to meet new people outside of work, but a shared task is a great icebreaker. I'm an extrovert, but after 2+ years of working at home, I find that friendly chatter doesn't come as naturally. Thankfully, bonding over the shared experience of sorting through canned goods or cleaning a garden provides a little cover for those rusty social skills!

    For years, I worked alongside @Beth Power cooking and serving meals for guests at a local shelter. Our group of 5-6 volunteers looked forward to seeing each other every month. For me, that was fulfilling and fun. (@Quinn Drew, another honorable mention for best volunteer experience was the meal packing event where we both ended up in red hair nets!)

    What about you? What was your best volunteer experience? 


  • 2.  RE: Your best volunteer experience

    Posted 04-13-2022 09:38
    @Brianne Haxton - I hear you! Last summer I volunteered with the IL Brewery Running Series and it was awesome. Their mission is to "be active, have fun, and give back." I spent a handful of Saturdays helping folks get registered or signed in, and cheered them on as they finished up their run. Such a great way to support local breweries and charities, and tie in an activity I enjoy so much. I also got to run a few of the ​events. 

    These aren't as epic as the hairnet photo, but they're fun none the less: 

    Stay awesome,

  • 3.  RE: Your best volunteer experience

    Posted 04-15-2022 12:37
    I like that you framed this in a variety of ways: recurring, one-off, big or small...  One of my (many) weird hang-ups is that I usually don't think it's volunteering unless it's recurring and over a long period of time, which is completely ridiculous, I know! We have so many ways to contribute our time and talent and they don't have to be set up like that. But I digress. 

    My best volunteer experience was through my son's elementary school. I was an "Art in Action" volunteer and it was a blast! The AIA volunteer got to pick a painting (reproduction posters of famous artworks) from the art closet, then research the artist, and, most crucially, come up with (and bring supplies for) an art project based off the painting for the kids to do. I loved this volunteer opportunity because I love to do research, I enjoy doing presentations, and I really got into coming up with cool, creative projects for the kids to do. Not only was it fun for me, but the kids always loved AIA day. They asked great questions and then  would go all out on their art projects. 

    I felt very lucky to fill that volunteer role for that school year because it's a really tough one to  get. Lots of parents (moms, mostly) wanted to do it because it ticked so many boxes for the volunteer: fun, doing good for the kids, creative, and interesting. I was really bummed when my year was up! It was a truly heartwarming experience. 

    Maria Mooshil

  • 4.  RE: Your best volunteer experience

    Posted 04-16-2022 07:41
    The stories of the best volunteer time are all great and heartwarming. 
    There is also another volunteer story that should be told and not just because it involves me, but thousands of men and women who volunteer for Military service.
    There is no greater gift one person can give than offering themselves for service to our country and all of their loved ones.
    Please remember when they sign for service, they are signing a blank check which includes the possibility of losing their life.
    We have the rights we have today because of all those that gave their life for our way of life.
    Thank you too all the men and women who wore the uniform of the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard. Guess we now include the Space Force.
    May All, "Have a Great Day or Create One".

    Rev. Jim Klynman
    Woodstock Ga.

  • 5.  RE: Your best volunteer experience

    Posted 04-19-2022 17:02
    Edited by Arnie Grahl 04-19-2022 17:14
    My two most memorable volunteering experiences included painting hallways at the Cabrini Green housing complex back in the early 1990s, and doing a variety of service and mission work with my church in Haiti in 2014. Both were eye-opening and perspective changing. Not many groups from the north suburbs ventured into Cabrini Green then, and being in that neighborhood gave me a new appreciation for inner city poverty. It felt good to be doing something but I also knew we were doing so little. And big societal changes were needed.
    Haiti was a whole new level of poverty. I can't begin to summarize the assaults on the senses that occurred during my group's ride in a truck closed in by wire-mesh from the airport to an outskirt of Port au Prince. The dirt, the trash, the crowded street conditions. People milling about everywhere. Crumbled remains still from the earthquake of 2010. A gigantic burning garbage dump and the smell of burning (tires maybe??) One block, people cooking right on the curb, the next block welding, the next clothing set out for sale. Chickens and goats running loose. Closest thing to chaos I have ever been a part of.
    But then their was also the sheer delight of helping others with the group I was with. And sitting under the stars at night on top of the half finished empty hospital clinic that served as our shelter, looking out over the city and palm trees to the distant water. And far in the distance, the mountains that separate Haiti from the Dominican Republic. The abject poverty makes you appreciate how rich we are in comparison. But many of the people we met, especially the youth, were a delight. It took me weeks upon my return to feel anywhere near normal. (And I'm sort of sad that that happens)

    Arnie Grahl