“To the world you may be just one person, but to one person you may be the world.”

--Brandi Snyder

To give of one’s time, energy, effort, and skills
To offer a share of the most valuable resource that we really never own
To give up a small portion of oneself and see it replaced by something far greater
Is to volunteer.

To listen for a quarter hour and become somebody’s new best friend
To swing a hammer and build a place called “home”
Or by calm presence, readiness, and love, create safe haven;
To serve a hot meal on a cold night
And realize how incredibly blessed you have been
By what you used to take for granted
Or to visit, bringing cheer and new life to a place
Whether you feel it or not.
Simply being there makes all the difference.

Teaching, sharing some bit of what you’ve learned in life so far
Learning, new skills as you need them that you will carry for a keepsake
Understanding what is meant by “the common human experience”
Caring, serving, loving one’s neighbor as oneself
Inspiring hope and motivating persistence
Shining a light or offering a hand up
Volunteering is a spirit in action.

Bound up in the humanity of another,
Not knowing their full background or experience
Possibly you are the imperfect angel in disguise
They have been hoping for.
Perhaps you will never meet those whom your actions directly affect
Walking for victims of an incurable disease, doing logistics or organization
Or perhaps they are the ones you visit
At the hospital, the shelter, the prison, the work site, the after-school program
And the little moments in everyday things just make everything worth it.
The small things you do may be forgotten tomorrow or remembered for decades
For the full impact of your work is beyond what one human is entitled to know.

-WBT, May 2006

"Volunteering" ©2006 W. Ben Towne. Conditions for use:
Do not sell any part of this poem, even if you rewrite it. Pay no royalties, even if you make money from performances.
You may reproduce and distribute this poem freely, but all copies must contain this copyright statement.

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