True spirit of volunteerism

A volunteer is someone who is compassionate, kind, idealistic and more than anything, selfless – someone who puts the needs of others before one’s own, someone who would not think twice about sharing what they have. We speak of how a little goes a long way and that by reaching out we can change a life, these words may seem flowery and empty but I am writing from personal experience on how the smallest of acts have touched my heart.

There is a reason why I write this piece – it is in tribute to all of the amazing volunteers I have met along the way. The people that have at some point reached out with what they must have thought was the smallest act of kindness, but of which has moved me – the volunteer that shared the only meal he had because he didn’t want me to go hungry, to the volunteer that refused to let the bus leave until I got on board, to the volunteer who washed my t shirt because she knew I was too tired, to the volunteer that would never let me go home alone at night. These are people who continue to push me, who lead by example, whose compassion lights up an entire room and of whose love I am blessed to have in my life.

They understand something that most wouldn’t care to think twice about. That we live in a world where individualism counts, where ignorance, arrogance and greed are eating into its core, a world where it is easy to take the easy path and look away. Whether we are vociferous or silent, we create a ripple effect in the communities we live in for we have a collective belief that we must stand together, hand in hand, for what affects you, affects me too.

There is one more truth that we know - no one makes it alone. Oprah Winfrey once said “Everyone who has achieved some success in life was able to do so because something or someone served as a beacon of light. What seems to be an endless cycle of generational poverty and despair can be broken if each is willing to be a light to the other. When you learn, teach. When you get, give because love means nothing if you don’t share it.” That is the true spirit of volunteerism.

This column was written by a STICH volunteer. Learn more by visiting www.stitchmovement.com

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