Monday, July 11, 2011
A Helping Hand
I was out of work for almost a year. About two months into my unemployment, I started to get depressed. I was at home alone all of the time, looking for work and wondering what would happen to me if I didn't find work. It was too much. With no husband, boyfriend, children or even roommate, I was alone all of the time. I got a good idea of what solitary confinement might be like and I didn't like it!
One night, I called a good friend in tears. She told me what I already knew ... I had to get out. But where and how? I had tons of time and no money. She suggested I volunteer. I found an organization and it literally changed everything.
Ironically, I worked with a local job readiness training program. It put me in touch with people. It gave me a reason to get up in the morning. It allowed me to do something I truly love (training). Most importantly, I met people who had similar struggles to mine ... and I met people who were a lot worse off. It gave me a much-needed sense of perspective. It also gave me a sense of pride because I was able to do something for these people. I looked forward to seeing them everyday and I know that many of them looked forward to seeing me.
I was struggling and could barely do for myself but here, it was different. I could make a difference. While I looked for work, I helped others find and keep work. I helped them develop their skills. I helped them see things in themselves they had never considered. I loved it.
A client even recommended that I apply for an open position at her old company. I did and I got it. So volunteering helped me find my current job!
As I approach the one year anniversary on my job, I still keep in touch with the people I volunteered with and I volunteer and visit when I can. I'm hooked. I think Jacob's Ladder will always play a role in my life. It's that important.
If you want to volunteer, there are many organizations that could use your help: schools, churches, community centers. If you don't know where to go or what you want to do, start here: http://www.volunteermatch.org/. You can find organizations in your area and based on your interest.
Be the change you want to see. : )