Monday was Valentine’s Day; a day to which I am personally opposed but use as an excuse to con free dark chocolate out of friends and family. I am a romantic; however I’m not big on the commercialization of romance. Despite this, I feel it is my duty as a supporter of service to use this as the perfect opportunity to talk about a rarely discussed benefit of volunteering: romance.
Romance? You may be thinking. Yes romance, my friends. In recent posts I’ve talked about the benefits of volunteering and how to make the most of service with organizations. Today, dear friends of Volunteer Maryland, I’m channeling my inner hopeless romantic to discuss the fact that volunteering is a great way to meet someone.
- You never really have to worry about the awkward first date because you volunteering together can get the introductions out of the way
- You have an idea of a value that’s important to that person, if it wasn’t important they wouldn’t be dedicating their time for free…worst case scenario, you will always have a topic with which to start a conversation
- You don’t have to worry about inappropriate first date behavior: most volunteer codes of conduct indicate what is and is not an appropriate behavior for a volunteer to engage in
- You have an excuse to hang out with the person without appearing creepy or overbearing, you’re pretty much letting your volunteer experience do the work for you!
I am not a fan of dating….In fact, I HATE it. But I am a HUGE fan of service. Last year I was a Volunteer Maryland Coordinator (VMC) at the St. Francis Neighborhood Center (SFNC) . During this time I had the opportunity to meet a husband and wife who had expressed interest in being mentors to two of the youth in our program. They told me a little bit about their story; how they raised a household of children—all adopted who now have children of their own and how they still had the desire to provide positivity in the lives of children. They then shared the story of how they met. She was volunteering at an organization and he saw her and fell in love. Of course he couldn’t tell her that and thus, he signed up to be a volunteer. The rest was history.
I was so moved by their story, but realistically I reasoned that they met over forty years ago and times were different then. You can’t just roll up in an organization today and expect to be married in three years. Can you?
Fast forward one year and three months….
This past weekend the process of deciding whether or not to support the over-commercialized holiday of Valentine’s Day (actually commemorating a horrible massacre) by buying a gift for my boyfriend, the boyfriend who volunteered at St. Francis, who likes kids, who sees the benefit of youth development, and who is currently mentoring one of the Power Project youth. The boyfriend I met by supporting something that I’m passionate about: service. No, I’m not saying that there are wedding bells in my future or that everyone is capable of meeting their perfect match if they volunteer. What I am saying is that just like a person can use volunteering as a networking opportunity on the premise that you never know who you can meet; the same goes with romance and volunteering. Be passionate about what you like because in the process, you never know who you might meet.
P.S. I just got him a card
P.S.S. Thanks, Patrice!