Volunteering has always been a huge passion of mine. Since high school, I have enjoyed working with nonprofits, volunteering my time and effort for the greater good of a cause. I spent a lot of time in high school volunteering with the local blood donation center. I worked in their office, at their events and in the back of house, ensuring that the little things were handled so the employees could do their job. I also regularly donated blood and platelets. This was some of the most rewarding work I did during that part of my life.


In college, I got involved with a branch of Americorp that worked with military veterans. I worked with this group for four years, serving our veteran community and its families. This program positioned me for a scholarship and allowed me to meet some incredible people. Without that program I wouldn’t have met my boyfriend.


Now that I am out of school, I still try to volunteer when I can. Most recently my organization did a group volunteer day with Cradles to Crayons, a nonprofit that provides toys, books, clothes/shoes/coats, bedding, and toiletries to children and youth experiencing homelessness or living under difficult conditions. Working with my colleagues to assemble care packages of donated items was incredibly rewarding, and it allowed us to connect in a different way than a normal work day would allow.


The three examples above are all very different instances and interactions with volunteering, and each represent a different stage of my life, but the common thread with each is the incredibly positive experience I had. I have never regretted volunteering in this capacity and I think it is truly rewarding. There are several ways in which you can volunteer and find personal growth and happiness. Any chance I get to sway people to volunteer, I jump on it because I

have seen so many lives touched by volunteering and the impact of volunteer work in communities. Whether it be on a mission trip, with the Peace Corps, or just at your local animal shelter, give volunteering a chance. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Not only will you feel like you have done something good for the world, but you will give yourself new experiences and make yourself so grateful for your health and family and wellbeing. Beyond the goodwill and full heart, volunteering also gives you an opportunity to meet people with which you might never have crossed paths. I encourage you to try volunteering at least once if you haven’t; it could change your life.

-        Bria