Last weekend I volunteered for my local human society's annual event -- a festive ball and auction to raise money for animals in need. A lot of hard work went into the event -- hours and hours of volunteering and a crazy weekend filled with organizing and assisting at the event -- but every moment was worth it when I knew that all of the effort was going to make the world a better place for some animals in need.
Though I've volunteered at events before, this was the first one I've felt truly passionate about. It felt like everything I was doing had an impact on the lives of animals and that made every action feel important and meaningful. At times the work was daunting, but in the end it was all worth it to see the success of the event play out. Looking back on it, I'm so glad I was able to be a part of it and I honestly cannot wait to help out with future events.
Participating in event made me realize how good I feel when I'm doing good. Instead of sitting on my couch watching TV or reading, as I often find myself doing on the weekends, I was making a difference (albeit a small one) in the world this weekend. Because of the event, more dogs and cats will have the care they need. More of them will find homes. More of them will live happier, healthier lives. Helping with the event offered me so many personal rewards and I wanted to share some of them with you in case you're thinking about volunteering for a cause you feel passionately about.
When You Do Good, You'll Feel...
... inspired. Being around other people who are spending their time doing something good for the world is truly one of the most inspiring things. You'll probably be around people who do inspiring things for a living (like the people I met who spend every day at the animal shelter) and that will make you feel even more inspired. Doing something good for a good cause is one of the most inspiring things. You will realize that there are many other people out there in the world that want to make it a better place.
... grateful. When you're in a situation where you're donating your time to a cause, it's probably because something or someone needs help. In this case, I was assisting with an event to raise money for animals in need. Hearing about those animals in need made me feel incredibly grateful for my own life -- and for the life I am able to give my pup Bella. No matter what the cause, if you are aware of what your work is benefiting, you will most likely feel incredibly grateful for all of the goodness in your own life.
... useful. Being a part of this great event made me feel like, even if it was just for a weekend, I was doing something good with my life. I had a purpose and that purpose was to assist with an event that would raise money for animals in need. Feeling as if our lives have purpose is one of the wonderful impacts of being involved in a meaningful volunteer opportunity, and it's not something to be taken lightly. This weekend, it was amazing and inspiring to feel as if what I was doing had a true purpose.
... connected. For the first time in my life, I was with a group of people who really got how I felt about animals. I've certainly met animal-lovers before, but to be in a room full of people who feel as passionately about helping animals as I do was truly a wonderful feeling. Whatever cause you choose to support, it's such a great feeling to be around other people who support the cause that you feel strongly about. Feeling connected to complete strangers is a rare occurrence and something to be enjoyed.
... hopeful. When working with a group of people who are inspired and motivated by a single cause, you almost can't help but be hopeful. Though it might seem like you're only impacting a small corner of the world when you're working on one event for one cause, you'll find yourself filled with hope because you know that all over the world -- in all of the other little corners -- there are other people doing good things to make something -- maybe just one thing -- a little better.
These are just a few of the benefits I received from working at this event. Most importantly, volunteering for this event has motivated me to want to help in other ways. It's inspired me to want to become even more involved in making a difference. If you're thinking about volunteering or donating to cause that means something to you, I'd highly recommend it. Not only will you be helping others, but you're helping to make your own life a more positive one. Don't know where to volunteer? Check out VolunteerMatch.org for inspiration. Believe me, I know how easy it is to say you don't have time or you don't know what you'd be able to help with, but trust me -- there is something you can do. Remember: it only takes one person to make a difference.