We lived on Teton Avenue in Sun Valley a newer subdivision outside of Omaha, Nebraska when I can remember the first volunteering I did. Christmas was just around the corner and somehow my mom found out about a family with kids at our school who were struggling. Being a part of the reason that family had a decorated Christmas tree with wrapped gifts and presents “From Santa” under it, Christmas dinner with all the “fixings” and a bit of spending money for afterwards, well that was one of THE greatest feelings and I was hooked!
Over the years I’ve happily worked side-by-side with my mom slicing, peeling, dicing, mixing, and serving up meals at Saturday church suppers, the Annual Strawberry Festival (is there any better dessert than New England-style strawberry shortcake?) and at the Plymouth Fair food booth.
As a REALTOR® with Seville Properties in Los Altos, California I stumbled upon Habitat for Humanity through our local Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® On one build I painted doors side-by-side with one of the owners of the company. I remember thinking about the family who would be walking through those doors I was painting.
Another time I remember getting up in the wee hours of the morning to join REALTOR® colleagues in Los Altos for the Spring Clean Up—-helping seniors in need of having their mattresses flipped, lightbulbs or smoke detector batteries changed, windows washed, or yards cleaned up. Simple acts for us, a HUGE gift for them.
When we moved to Prescott, Arizona some 17 years ago other volunteer opportunities found me through Southwest Airedale Terrier Rescue, Prescott Equine Rescue, Black Stallion Reading Program and LASER—Large Animal Shelters & Emergency Readiness. Through membership in the Prescott Area Association of REALTORS® Community Services and Outreach Committee and Hardship Task Force I’ve been a part of teams raising funds, collecting coats and food and folded & tied cards for SWAG boxes. As an affiliate with Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate BloomTree Realty I’ve coordinated the participation of colleagues in three Habitat for Humanity builds and the collection of puzzles, crosswords, craft kits, knitting supplies and large print books for Arizona Serves Senior Care Drive.
I give because I can, and it feels right to me. The reward? The twinkle in an eye, a joyful bark, a hug, the squeeze of a hand. Knowing someone’s life might just be a tiny bit better tomorrow than it has been.