I don’t know about you, but the fall tends to be the busiest time of year. For some reason, the high priority assignments, deadlines, presentations, and meetings fill up my calendars (yes, I have more than one) for October-December. Not to mention the lengthy holidays and numerous birthdays, and anniversaries. Locating my sanity is a task each week. Surprisingly enough, fall happens to be my favorite season. Ironic, right? I look forward to fall each year for the same reasons it is so busy. Aside from work, fall is also swarming with activities because it is the season when I do the most of what I love…perform direct service.
I did not launch my personal service journey, I owe that to my parents and I will be forever grateful. Years and years ago, my parents started the tradition of volunteering as a family every Thanksgiving. On Thanksgiving Day, we would leave early in the morning to join other community members in preparing, packaging, and delivering meals to local shelters and homeless individuals. At a young age, I learned the importance of serving my community and that my time is the most valuable thing I could ever give to a cause. My parents planted that seed, and I have watered it by volunteering year-round.
Another tradition I adopted was volunteering for every holiday, birthday, anniversary, and special occasion. Most of my close friends and family have birthdays in the fall, so finding a variety of volunteer opportunities along the East Coast is always on our radar during this season. Instead of expecting to give/receive gifts, we expect to serve for part or all of the day. That may sound like a big commitment, but it is more of a hobby because the more we serve, the more we want to keep serving. You can never give too much of your time.
Now, call me crazy, but I have this belief that deep down, everyone wants to make a difference locally, nationally, and/or internationally. How you choose to do that is up to you. I can tell you from experience that one of the most effective ways to bring about change or spread awareness is to devote your time. It’s never too late to begin your service journey. Besides the major holidays, I love fall because it is full of reasons to volunteer–Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October), Hispanic Heritage Month (October), Halloween, American Indian Heritage Month (November), Diabetes Awareness Month (November), AIDS Awareness Month (October and December), Universal Human Rights Month (December), and plenty more. If you are unsure of where to research volunteer opportunities, contact your local volunteer center. For a complete list of volunteer centers in Maryland, visit http://marylandvolunteercenters.org/.
So go ahead, fall into service, I dare you =).