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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Volunteer opportunities come in many forms

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Volunteer Network Column
Volunteer opportunities come in many forms. Whether it is volunteering at school, at church, in your community, or in times of emergency, volunteering can produce wonderful results. My personal experience as a volunteer has encompassed all of the above at one time or another and has given back to me in so many ways.

Personally investing many volunteer hours connected to mission work in Haiti over the past seven years has had a wonderful impact on me, and my family and friends as well. Cross-cultural mission volunteer opportunities also come in many forms. You could be a "goer," one who travels to a location, near or far, to physically serve people in a hands-on manner. You could be a "sender," one who helps prepare the opportunity for a goer to go.

Did you know the wonderful skill of knitting or crocheting could make you a sender? Baby hats and dish cloths have been crafted by several local volunteers using bits and pieces of leftover yarn, and have been hand-delivered by goers to newborns at a Haitian hospital. Cutting and sewing leftover house-wrap to create kites for Haitian school children has been a creative volunteer opportunity. Kites need string. Volunteer hands have wound string onto a cardboard reel.

Volunteer time has been spent "inscribing" witness symbols onto donated tennis balls with a Sharpie marker. Creating beautiful jewelry from odds and ends of beads to be given to women attending a women's conference: yes, that is volunteering. A volunteer may also offer resources such as accumulated sewing supplies that can be organized into sewing kits, which turns one woman's trash into another woman's treasure.

Being a goer can be a commitment of varying degrees. Mission work in another country can be a week or two. It could also be a year or two. Many from Spencer and the surrounding area have served in Haiti as volunteers for organizations including Promise for Haiti, United Christians International, Many Hands for Haiti, and Love Takes Root.

This experience has opened the door for a young woman, Spencer native Heather Brown, to prepare for longer-term volunteer work with the non-profit organization Many Hands for Haiti. Late spring, early summer 2013 will begin Heather's time of service to the Haitian people in a small community just north of Pignon, Haiti, called Savanette. There is no end to what the volunteer jobs might be for Heather in the coming months and years.

Near and far, short-term, long-term, everything in between ... You can volunteer. It is an amazing thing.

Check out www.volunteerclaycounty.com for volunteer opportunities.

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