“Be a light. Reach out every day to share your inner spirit to plant hope, faith, and love.” Author Ardath Rodale.
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Making a Difference as a Life-Long Volunteer

Studies show if you volunteer at least one hour a week, you will be healthier, live longer and feel younger. Wow, a drug-free fountain-of-youth sounded good to me. I signed up to be a volunteer community leader about 30 years ago.  As a now life-long leader, I volunteered and earned award recognition from several important local and state business groups over the years. In 1989, the U.S. Small Business Administration awarded me their Advocate of the Year Award in recognition of my contributions to strengthen small business. Other non-profits I have worked with include humane societies, animal rescue groups, aviation, historic preservation, heritage tourism, and breast cancer prevention organizations. One aspect of volunteering, I thoroughly enjoy is fund raising.
The first rule of raising money for charity is, “You have to ask…and, always ask for more than you are expecting the donor to give." Secondly, tell the potential donor how the money will be used to make a difference. The third rule is to thank and recognize the donor’s contribution. Be sure to keep in touch with them about the difference their support is making.

When you make your decision to volunteer, my advice is to start small with a one-time event. This will help you decide if this is the cause and the organization which is the right fit for you and your talent, energy and time. If you like to knit, volunteer to make a hat for our soldiers in Afghanistan or a baby blanket for your homeless shelter. If dogs are your favorite furry friend, offer to walk a dog from the animal shelter in the local charity fun walk. As a book lover, volunteer to read a favorite children’s book for library story hour. You can even use puppets for visual impact. Better yet, dress up as a character from the book. You will have fun and so with the excited girls and boys.

We all have special skills. Use them to build your community and your life