What is Volunteering
Have you ever considered being a volunteer? Would you like to make a positive impact in your community or someone’s life? There are many ways for you to help. I will share a recent experience with you that I had when I decided to volunteer to help my friend; Tamara L. Hunter of Chemo Buddies 4 Life to raise funds for her nonprofit foundation.
The story began last year when I was surfing the posts on my Facebook feed. I came across a video about a group of people who were competing for the opportunity to become The Next Impactor. It’s a platform for people with a purpose. The folks are Influencers who want to share their message with others. They volunteered to raise funds for nonprofit organizations as part of the competition. According to Loren Harris (one of the organizers of the competition) he referred to it as “America’s Got Talent for Influencers”.
As I watched the videos and listened to their messages, I was profoundly struck with excitement. What I heard resonated with me in a powerful way. It was then that I knew that I was on a similar mission. I have a message of hope, and I want to make a positive impact in people’s lives too. These contestants were doing exactly what I discuss on my Sunrise Daybreakers Tribe morning broadcast.
I followed the process of the competition and the dynamic impact these folks were making. A long story short, Tamara L. Hunter was crowned the overall winner of this competition. I was impressed and I had a friend who knew her personally. She was excited to tell me about Tamara’s nonprofit, Chemo Buddies 4 Life. It’s a support organization whose focus is healing through connection. They have a network of Chemo Buddies; people who have been diagnosed with cancer and those who support those who have been touched by cancer.
On January 1st, Chemo Buddies declared 2020 to be the year of LOVE! They have a Facebook community that is a safe place to share your story, support each other and get to know people who can relate to what you may be feeling. You’ll find a healing environment through a connection with the group members. Chemo Buddies 4Life Community is a group that you should consider if you would like to become a volunteer.
HOW I VOLUNTEERED AND MADE A POSITIVE IMPACT IN OUR COMMUNITY
Over the years, I have lost several relatives, friends as well as my ex-wife to cancer. I felt that it was time for me to take action and give back by helping to support a worthy cause and raise funds for her outreach program. I made the decision to know her better and invited her to explain her story on my Get to Know Tamara L. Hunter interview broadcast. My desire to volunteer and help them grew 10 fold from this experience. What I didn’t realize at the time was that this would be a healing experience for myself.
I had volunteered in the past. I’ve worked in the kitchen for my local Salvation Army who makes meals for the homeless and hungry. I had also assisted my church to provide warm clothing and gave away gift cards for the local grocery store just before Thanksgiving. These events were humbling, and little did I know that one day I would be one of those homeless folks who desperately needed those services too. That’s a story for another time.
By participating as a volunteer, it gave me sense of accomplishment and a feeling of happiness to know that I had helped someone in need. The overall result was that I was giving back some of my time to help the community where I live, and this act of kindness on my behalf has made a positive impact in someone’s life.
Now, getting back to volunteering for Chemo Buddies 4 Life, I took on this task and wanted to make a big impact; to raise money to help Tamara and the Chemo Buddies organization. I purchased food for a BBQ, rented a pavilion at Siesta Key Public beach. I even brought a TV screen with me so that the attendees could watch the live streaming event.
What I didn’t anticipate was the weather conditions that day in Sarasota. It just happened to be the coldest day of the winter that year. By the way, when it’s cold in Florida people stay home. Hardly anyone came out to the beach, but that didn’t stop me. I put out signs directing people to our location. I had already contacted the local TV station to come and do a feature on this event. They didn’t show up. My helpers had called off, but my Dad and Granddaughter came to help me. It seemed that everything was a huge waste of my time and a complete failure.
Failure or Success
Regardless, I fired up the BBQ anyways. I was live-streaming multiple times that day for the fund raiser and we touched the hearts of many people. My father came on one of the segments and shared a story about his experience with colon cancer and how he had lost his parents and brother to cancer… an epic and emotional moment, one that I’ll never forget. This inspired my uncle in Canada who is a survivor of cancer (in remission). He signed up as a Chemo Buddy.
Two days before the event I found myself visiting a dear friend who had only a few days left here on Earth. The cancer had taken a toll on his body and his time to pass on was near. He left this world on the same day as I was doing this event, Giving Tuesday, December 3, 2019. I wanted to let him know that he is loved. I wanted him know how much I appreciated all he had done to help me. In addition, I didn’t realize was that by volunteering to help Chemo Buddies
I would also revisit feelings about the loss of my ex-wife to cancer. That loss factor was a feeling that I had suppressed because I was ashamed of not being there for her when she needed me most. Consequently, this was a healing event for myself and I came out stronger. Even though it appeared that everything seemed like a loss on the outside, looking from within it was a gift of healing and outreach for myself and others.
Why is volunteering important?
When we give of ourselves, we receive blessings as well. Some call this Karma; what we give is what we get. I can tell you that our friends, family and our communities need our help and we can touch people and ourselves in ways that we never imagined.
The best feeling in the world is knowing that you have made a positive impact in yourself as well as the lives of others. Hence, I urge you to be a volunteer. Make a decision about what you are passionate about, then volunteer to an organization that has a similar ideal. In these moments we can use our past, the most painful experiences we have ever experienced as a platform to help others in a meaningful way. Take action today and make a positive impact in someone’s life. It’s likely that it will put a smile on your face as well as theirs.