Monday, May 21, 2012

Giving Back on Our "Road Trip"!

The clouds hang heavy and low, and the air is thick with humidity. The sticky days of summer are back in South Carolina. Despite the fact that the weather is hot and bothered, the SC Campaign staff is celebrating Christmas!

Well, not exactly Christmas. May is Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month, which around our office is almost just as exciting as when old St. Nick visits! We’re packing our cars full of staff to travel around the state raising awareness around teen pregnancy. The Road Show 2012 is already well underway and staff  have already visited 23counties in South Carolina. As a part of our Road Show event, we’re hosting volunteer events around the state. As a lifelong busy body, community service has become a passion of mine.

Volunteering helps individuals feel more connected to their community while improving their overall mood. It’s a win-win: the individual gains a stronger sense of community engagement while the organization is able to save money to invest in its efforts elsewhere. Many non-profit organizations do not have the budget to cover all of the projects on their to-do list – not to mention the time to spend completing them. Instead of spending time and money on planting flowers or painting, the organization is likely to focus on making ends meet to fund the staff who are working so hard to achieve the goals of the organization. As community members, we may not have the skills necessary to help balance the budget or construct a marketing plan, but we do have a little spare time.

What if you talked to the staff at the child center down the road whose yard looks like a desert about planting some flowers? What if you talked to the staff at the teen clinic about painting the beige walls of the waiting room a more inviting color? The staff would be blown away with your generosity and you would be forever grateful for the experience.

During the Road Show last year, SC Campaign staff hosted three volunteer events. When you mention these events around our office, faces light up. The warm feeling still persists within these volunteers. Giving back to the community not only helps the organization, but helps ignite a fire within the volunteer to send good into the world.

With the fire still burning from last year, we wanted to do more volunteer events this year. So far we have many events planned: a book drive for an underprivileged school in Horry County, planting flowers at a children’s home in Clinton, reading to elementary school children in Lexington County, and a staff appreciation day at a clinic in Charleston.

Volunteering is a way to give back to your community. These past few years have brought on tough economic times for every community. We have all been affected by this in one way or another. Volunteering your time to an organization that serves a cause that is near and dear to your heart is tremendously valuable (and free!). I encourage all of you to get involved in your community. Find an organization whose beliefs align with your own and give them a call. Perhaps you can spare a few hours a month to walk dogs at a local shelter, deliver hot meals to senior citizens, read to children at a local hospital or organize a clothing drive for a homeless shelter.

As my Yogi tea bag reminded me the other day “you are limitless.” Go forth and do good.

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