Thanking Volunteers

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Earlier this week I was invited to offer “words of inspiration” at a PTA council meeting of approximately 150 delegates.  As I thought about what I wanted to share that could prove “inspirational”, I drew a blank (shocking, I know!)…so I opted for part of my own story…and here is what I said to them…(I hope it actually proved to be inspirational!)

Looking back to the year 2000, if you had asked me what I’d be doing 12 years from then, I don’t think I could have imagined all the things I am currently doing…and I certainly didn’t think I’d be doing them all for free!

My reasons I do what I do…every day.

Furthermore, if you were to ask me what I’d change about my life 12 years later, I’d say “not a thing.” I have two primary reasons for everything I decide to take on – they are Madisyn and Devin – and they drive me to teach them, educate them and work to make their schools better, their lives fulfilling and in the end, what I chose to do comes full circle as they now see the value of volunteering and want to also give back as they grow up.

Volunteering is sometimes underrated and, in turn, I’ve heard people say they are “just” volunteers.  However, I have seen the impact a single volunteer can have in a school and the valuable resources they bring, without expense. So I say you should be proud to say you volunteer because the support you give, in any quantity, offers security to an educational system that requires more support than ever before.

As a volunteer it is important to recognize the impact you can make simply by offering a little bit of your time in a school. Try thinking about it like this: for every minute you free up time for a teacher, whether it is making copies or shelving books, it is one more minute he/she can assist a struggling reader. For every time you volunteer at a family event sponsored at the school it is one more opportunity to show your own children the importance of giving back. For the time you step up to help lead your school organization, it is an opportunity to make changes to benefit all children and better the environment in which they all learn and grow.

So be proud to volunteer, continue to make it a priority and know that your children are watching everything you do to learn what is important, and if you make their school a priority on your list, they will too.

But I’d like to take it one step further, I want to request that each of work to invest in yourselves as well.   Invest in the commitment you make to ensure it is worth the time you plan to give.

Because that is what it’s all about.  Time.  As a volunteer you give time and time is the most precious resource in our lives.

Once you give an hour of your time it is lost forever.

So as a volunteer it is important to ensure you are making the most of that time.  By educating yourselves about the roles you have taken on, working to create change for good, and ensuring that your time is used wisely by sharing the knowledge you have with those around you.  Make efforts to attend district and statewide courses – because in the end someone has just sacrificed their own time to bring them to you to help make your life easier and help you utilize time in the best way they know how.

You all bring so much to this association: skills, advice, experience, friendship, vision and inspiration.  And yet you choose to donate your most precious commodity in the known universe.    Time.

So today, I am taking time out to thank you for the amazing “time” that you all give.   You are all truly magnificent.

Thank you for all you do.

So, I hope that this can offer some inspiration to all of you out there that volunteer in any capacity.  I don’t think we can thank any volunteer enough for the precious time they offer to any group, organization, or cause.  Whether you offer 1 hour or 100 hours to anything, you deserve a huge thanks for all that YOU do.  So, thank you.

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