How do you currently volunteer?
At my church I volunteer as a reader and usher, and as the Thrivent organizer for meetings and events, and I serve on the women's society. I also am involved with the Atlantic District Lutheran Women's Missionary League.
Why have you chosen to make volunteering a priority in your life?
Volunteering is being part of something bigger than you. You may not see the result of what you do, but you make a difference just doing it. I believe God moved within me to start volunteering so it became a part of who I am. There were times my children would come along and help, too. I made sure there were things they could do and understand why we were doing it. My husband and I are retired, and we both volunteer. Volunteering has made me a better person.
Who inspires you to volunteer?
So many people! There is a woman in my church who is over 80. She asks if she can help me do whatever project I have. She's crocheted bandages for lepers and knit scarves for people in need. I am inspired by her and a much older woman who helps raise money for a deaf ministry.
Tell us about a time you felt you received more than you gave.
I think everyone who volunteers feels they receive more than they give. I was a Girl Scout leader for 40 years and was glad to share in the lives of many young girls – listening to them and being a part of their world. I didn't realize the full impact of that experience until I met up with a former Girl Scout, who's now a young adult in college. She told me how much I did for her. I was so touched by her comment.
Tell us about one of your most memorable or touching moments as a volunteer.
Working on a Thrivent Builds with Habitat for Humanity home has always moved me. On one build, the family had lost the mom. It was a difficult time. When the children came to the house and told me where their rooms would be, I was as excited as they were. The special moment came when I was asked to present the keys at the home dedication. I could hardly speak as I handed the dad the keys to his family's new home. We both cried and laughed at the same time. I will never forget that.
What would you say to others who are hesitant about volunteering or feel they lack the time to give back?
People can make a difference by volunteering small amounts of time. Plus, they'll feel enriched by their experience and become changed people. I ask people to help me with just one part of an event – a short-term opportunity that can lead to others. And if people don't have to attend meetings but can do tasks on the computer, it's a plus. One woman said she never volunteered because no one asked her!
Jump into volunteering
Thrivent offers many ways you can make a difference for others, from leading Thrivent Action Teams, to directing Choice Dollars® and volunteering on a Thrivent Builds trip. Sound like something you'd like to try? Learn more about our programs.
Not a member yet? Learn more about why Thrivent is different.