Steady as she volunteers

I saw my oncologist this week and it is “steady as she goes”. My latest PSA is 0.21 marginally up from the last reading of 0.15 but still crawling along the bottom of the graph. (I won’t talk percentages – it’s a 40%  increase, which sounds more scary than a 0.06 increase).

PSA combined

Apparently this week is  Volunteers Week so I thought I would share with you a piece written by a relative in Canada. He started by asking the question “Why do people volunteer?”. This is how he answered:

A question that can be hard to answer – each person who volunteers does so for their own reasons.

For some it could be they want to give back to their community or make a difference to the people around them. For others it could be a way to develop new skills or build on existing knowledge or experience. Another reason could be a requirement to earn 40 hours of community service before graduating high school. No matter the reason for volunteering the benefits of volunteering are infinite. Volunteering and helping others can be good for your health, and well being. Many people think volunteering involves a big time commitment and it doesn’t have to. You can have a long-term commitment or just commit to a one time volunteer event. Whatever you decide to do you won’t regret it.

I started volunteering 29 years ago at SARI Therapeutic Riding*, halfway through Grade 9 at Medway High School, and have loved it ever since. I started volunteering well before the 40 hour volunteer requirement for high school students. I have seen many changes over the years at SARI and have helped numerous riders develop their social and personal skills. I have continued volunteering at SARI as I have gained a lot personally from interacting with the many riders I have assisted over the years. Another reason for continuing to volunteer at SARI is the benefit of being around the horses. Each horse and pony has their own distinct personality and the more time you spend around them the more you will begin to see that. Horses and ponies can have a calming effect on people, and having the opportunity to groom a horse can also have a calming effect on the horse.

I look forward to volunteering at SARI each week and it doesn’t feel like I have been volunteering there as long as I have. That shows I love what I do and would miss it if I stopped. If you have the opportunity to volunteer and help someone, do it – you won’t regret it.

* If you wondered about SARI it was founded in 1978 in memory of a little girl who loved animals. Sari Greenberg was born with Downs Syndrome and her parents embraced the opportunity to bring her home to the farm where SARI currently stands.

The vision and compassion of two parents put therapeutic riding on the map. It is now a valuable activity that has changed the lives of many others. The dedication of staff and volunteers makes SARI one of Southwestern Ontario’s most well respected therapeutic riding organizations (otherwise known a hippotherapy). In the UK the Riding for the Disabled Association has 500 groups around the country. Their horses and ponies provide therapy, achievement and enjoyment to people with disabilities all over the UK. They, like so many other organisations, rely on volunteers and on donations and gifts to keep going.

As I said, the words above were written by a Canadian relative who lives in one of the states where community service is mandatory. Whether or not this turns teenagers into life long volunteers it will open doors for some and give a new perspective for others. And as he wrote he has been volunteering for nearly 30 years. In the UK we would be lost without volunteers, whether it’s parents on a PTA raising funds for a school, the volunteers who ply you with coffee during chemotherapy, the lifeboat crew or any of the thousands of others who give of their time to benefit others.

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2 thoughts on “Steady as she volunteers

  1. Well said Tim, I couldn’t agree more.
    Volunteering brings more benefit to those who do it than any work-related rewards.

    Like

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