Making good Mondays is like making coffee -

The week is before us - like the coffee pot - waiting to brew. Making it good is a matter of choice, luck, creativity, patience and acceptance of the outcome.

Currently at Making Good Mondays

Active elements on this page: Occasionally I will publish a new blog post, but I write mostly at other sites.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Volunteering, what's in it for you?

Today at my political website, South by Southwest, I wrote about the importance of citizen participation in the political process. The writing took me back in memory to the days when I was actively involved in volunteering for a variety of causes in my local community.

Those days of working without a paycheck brought me other riches. As a member of the League of Women Voters, I got the equivalent of a degree in government. I learned how county government worked, how fair elections come about and how to influence policy change. Making a difference can be heady stuff.

Volunteering brings a certain freedom of action and independence. Though volunteers in agencies or large organizations are most often supervised by paid staff, they are always free for the most part to set their own timetables, vacations, and job descriptions. In later years I was one of those paid staff supervisors, and I was acutely aware of the power those volunteers wielded.

Volunteering puts you in touch with interesting people. In the League, I met elected officials and city planners, as well as community activist leaders. As a volunteer for the Mental Health Association I met mental health professionals, clients and community advocates and educators. I felt inspired and as if I were among kindred spirits. I eventually became a mental health professional myself.

Volunteering meant that I traveled to places I would not have seen if it had not been for my involvement. As a church altar guild member, I traveled to the diocesan convention, and as a Camp Fire Girls leader I traveled to camps in the woods. Volunteering will inevitably enrich one's perspective and life experiences. I gained confidence with each new challenge, and built upon all the previous knowledge gained through the work.

Volunteering earns annual recognition banquets, thank you's, smiles of gratitude, hugs, certificates and kudos. Volunteering for the first 15 years of my worklife, put me on the educational and professional path I eventually took. I am retired now, and I know that my life would have been very different had it not been for liking to be a volunteer. You ought to try it, if you haven't done it.

See "Behind the Links."

Blogs: My news and political blog is at South by Southwest. My general purpose/southwest focus blog is at Southwest Progressive. And Carol Gee - Online Universe is the all-in-one home page for my websites.

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References on Spirituality -- Favorites from my old collection

  • "A Return To Love: Reflections On the Principles Of a Course In Miracles" by Marianne Williamson. Harper Collins, 1992
  • "A World Waiting To Be Born: Civility Rediscovered" by M. Scott Peck. Simon and Schuster, 1993
  • "Chicken Soup For the Unsinkable Soul" by Canfield, Hansen and McNamara. Health Communications, 1999
  • "Compassion in Action: Setting Out On the Path of Service" by Ram Dass and Mirabai Bush. Bell Tower Pub., 1992
  • "Creative Visualization" by Shakti Gawain. MIF Books, 1978
  • "Finding Values That Work: The Search For Fulfillment" by Brian O'Connell. Walker & Co., 1978
  • "Fire in the Soul" by Joan Borysenko. Warner Books, 1993
  • "Further Along the Road Less Traveled" by M. Scott Peck. Simon and Schuster, 1993
  • "Guilt Is the Teacher, Love Is the Lesson" by Joan Borysenko. Warner Books, 1990
  • "Inner Simplicity: 100 Ways To Regain Peace and Nourish the Soul" by Elaine St. James. Hyperion, 1995
  • "Insearch:Psychology and Religion" by James Hillman. Spring Pub. 1994
  • "Man's Search For Himself" by Rollo May. Signet Books, 1953
  • "Mythologies" by William Butler Yeats. Macmillan, 1959
  • "Myths, Dreams and Religion" by Joseph Campbell. Spring Pub. 1988
  • "Passion for Life: Psychology and the Human Spirit" by John and Muriel James. Penguin Books, 1991
  • "Peace Is Every Step" by Thich Nhat Hahn. Bantam Books , 1991
  • "The Heroine's Journey" by Mureen Murdock. Random House, 1990
  • "The Hope For Healing Human Evil" by M. Scott Peck. Simon and Schuster, 1983
  • "The House of Belonging" poems by David Whyte. Many Rivers Press, 2004
  • "The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth" by M.Scott Peck. Simon and Schuster, 1978
  • "The Soul's Code: In Search Of Character and Calling" by James Hillman. Random House, 1996
  • "The World Treasury of Modern Religious Thought" by Jaroslav Pelikan. Little, Brown & Co., 1990
  • "Unconditional Life" by Deepak Chopra. Bantam Books, 1992
  • "Wherever You Go There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation" by Jon Kabat-Zinn. Hyperion, 1994
  • "Zen Keys: A Guide to Zen Practice" by Thich Nhat Hahn. Doubleday Dell Pub. Group, 1974

About Me

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A retired counselor, I am equal parts Techie and Artist. I am a Democrat who came to the Southwest to attend college. I married, had kids and have lived here all my adult life.