Around the middle of last year I began volunteering at my local library. Apparently the library is a common place to complete community service hours when someone gets into trouble, but I certainly don’t have this issue. I volunteer because I want to be more involved in my community and I want to help others out when and where I can. I’m not always able to get to the library when I want to, but I go as often as I can. Since I have so much experience with computers, that’s where I get to work – at the computer desk. I answer patron’s general, and sometimes more detailed, questions; I troubleshoot general computer and printer issues; and I work on whatever projects I’m asked to do by the staff – things like wrapping books, checking books in, sorting books, creating DVD/CD cases, testing out projects they want to provide for kids in the library, or pulling outdated books or CD/DVDs.
Not too long ago I had an old friend call me up, after looking at my LinkedIn page, and ask me, “do you really volunteer at the library?” He thought I was being forced to by the city, by my kids, or by some other external force. “Nope, just because I want to help others,” was my response. I don’t do this for a monetary reward or for the recognition. I do this because it feels good to serve others.
To give and not expect something in return has the most amazing rewards all by itself, especially with my own personal growth. It just makes me feel good to know that I helped someone, that they benefited from my presence in this world, and that I can make a difference in this world one person at a time.
There’s one elderly gentleman that I help at the library who has really taken to me. I think it’s because I’m a bit more patient with him than some of the other employees, and I’m able to explain what he needs help with (email questions mainly) in a way that helps understand the ‘why’ behind the answer to his questions. He’s very sweet and does tend to take up quite a bit of time with his questions, but I don’t mind. He won’t be with us for too many more years and I’d like to think that I helped him and made him a little happier while he’s still here.
Anyway, his wonderful elderly gentleman happens to have lemon, orange, and tangerine trees in his backyard. One day he asked me if I could use some of these fruits. Of course I can! I have five kids and a husband…not to mention myself…who absolutely love fruit. We go through about 10 lbs. of apples and 10 lbs. of oranges a week (more if I’d let them)! So, this very nice gentleman has started bringing me bags of Cara Navel Oranges, Gold Nugget Tangerines, and Sweet Lemons when they become ripe. This is certainly an added bonus to volunteering. When you’re nice to others, and I mean sincerely nice, you will always be rewarded in some way. My heart is certainly full!