…doesn’t mean you can’t do work. On Monday, October 11, 2010, the Volunteer Maryland office was closed to observe Columbus Day. Although I could not come in and work at my desk, I chose to spend the day working—more specifically, I chose to spend the day volunteering at Paul’s Place Outreach Center, one of VM’s partner organizations. I had never been to Paul’s Place before and I wasn’t sure what the traffic getting there and the parking situation would be like, so I aimed to get there a little bit early. Well, long story short, there was no traffic on I-95 and I found a parking spot right in front of the building. So I was there extra early. No big deal, I got the chance to meet some of the people in the neighborhood who take advantage of the great services offered at Paul’s Place and I had a chance to relax before the Hot Lunch program kicked into gear. I spent my time at Paul’s Place serving lunch to the visitors, offering them a choice of fruit to go with their lunch, as well as a smile. Everyone who came was very grateful for the chance of a good meal and thankful for the volunteers who were there to serve. I enjoyed volunteering at Paul’s Place and I hope to go back many more times.
Whether or not your job requires you to do a certain amount of community service throughout the year, holidays or days when the office is closed can be a great chance to get out there and serve in the communities where you live and work. Sometimes, you may even find service projects on days when you are supposed to be in the office and you may find that your supervisor is willing to pay you to volunteer elsewhere! Now, that may not be exactly what you think of when you think “volunteering,” but who wouldn’t love the chance to get paid to do something good for someone else (like all of our AmeriCorps members, hint, hint, *cough* apply for a partnership for next year *cough*). If community service is not part of your office culture—as talked about by our lovely blogger Corrine on Wednesday—maybe it’s time you started making it. Throughout the year, there are several nationally supported community service days that you and your co-workers can take advantage of: Make a Difference Day, next Saturday, October 23, 2010; Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, Monday, January 17, 2011; 9/11 National Day of Service, already past for this year but mark your calendar for next year, Sunday, September 11, 2011. Not enough for you? Check out Energize, Inc.’s list of special days/weeks related to volunteerism in North America for more ideas of how to get out of the office and into the community!