I recently came across this neat story in an article about volunteerism:
There is a story about a man walking along a beach. He notices that the starfish have washed ashore and will soon die in the baking sun. Then the man sees a young child picking up the starfish, one at a time, and throwing them back into the ocean. Noticing the hundreds of starfish and the small size of the child, the man says, “Son, you will never be able to save them all. What you are doing will not make any difference.” The little fella looks at the man, picks up yet another starfish, and tosses it back into its saltwater haven. “Matters to that one.”
I think this is a cute story that very effectively describes the fears that many people have about volunteering – their heart may be in the right place when they want to help, but then they begin to have doubts, like “I’m just one person, what could I possibly do to help?” or “I don’t have a lot of time, so I probably just shouldn’t bother committing to anything.” The bottom line is, if you have any extra time at all, as little as one hour a week, and you’d like to help others, there is a place in your community that could use and be grateful for your volunteer work. So if it’s something you’ve been thinking about doing, let go of your insecurities, find someone to answer your questions, and find a place that suits your interests where you can pitch in and lend a helping hand at the same time. Your calling might be at a food pantry, nursing home, animal shelter, community theater, hospital, senior center, community service agency, delivering for Meals on Wheels, etc – the list goes on and on. If you really want to take the time to help others and give back to your community, don’t let excuses run your life – just do it!! If you really can’t find anywhere to volunteer in your community, try contacting your local churches to see if they have any community programs for which you could volunteer, or perhaps a family in need of some helping hands; you never know what you may find!