A lot has happened in the 21 years that I have been around, some good and some not so good. It’s just the way life is, but sometimes I feel like I’m just sitting around watching the world fall apart.I know I can’t cure cancer or rid the world of global warming, so what can I do?
I asked myself that question a lot. I felt I needed to do something grand, but the advice I kept getting was “start small.” So eventually I did, and took to volunteering.
I know, volunteering, what’s the big deal? And that’s exactly what I thought, but I knew I needed to start somewhere. So my senior year of high school I went on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic. This was the trip that began to change how I saw the impact of volunteering.
While on the mission trip, we visited different Haitian villages in a part called the Bateyes. People were living in groups of at least ten in make-shift huts with dirt floors. Our job was to build cement flooring, something that seemed like nothing at the time. But this small action meant the world to them and it just amazed me to see their pure happiness at the sight of a new floor. Realizing what a big difference this small act of volunteering was for these people made me rethink everything I thought I knew. Even just playing games with the kids of the Bateyes brought them so much joy.
I learned that volunteering is what you make of it. It’s about choosing to go beyond what others do and be present in the work, striving for a real lasting change in others’ lives.
Once you realize the true impact volunteering can have, it’s important to take a stand and start now. Start anywhere you want.
For me, once the mission trip was over, I knew I needed to find some way that I could continue making the world a better place. College offered a lot of volunteering opportunities, but I was initially driven towards Big Brothers Big Sisters. It gave me an opportunity to make a difference in a more personal way for someone.
When I first started at Big Brothers Big Sisters, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to do what I set out to do. The more I thought about it, the bigger of a task it seemed to be. When I met my little, all I wanted to do was be there for her in whatever way I could.
Every hour I spent with her, whether it was helping her understand schoolwork or playing games with her, I saw her grow from this shy sixth grader to a motivated young scholar. It’s been almost three years now that I have been with my little and I’ve realized that she’s starting to change and help me grow too.
One small gesture or act starts to affect more than one person. Maybe it’s a direct affect or maybe it’s indirect. When you choose to help others, people see that and want to help. It’s just a way of nature – the ripple effect.
We all know about it, but this effect takes on a whole new meaning when you are a part of that ripple.
After taking my stand and acknowledging the impact I could have on others through volunteering, the next step, for me, was incorporating that positive impact potential into my work-life. This is one of the reasons I wanted to work at Capture Marketing.They understand the importance of partnering business endeavors with nonprofit organizations, keeping in mind that“doing good is good business,” a phrase that has been much engrained in me.
Businesses have a unique opportunity to use their positions to continue the good started by individuals and organizations that are working to change the community or world for the better. People united can bring more awareness to an organization than one person could alone. What I’m talking about is cause marketing—the mutual cooperation between for-profit and nonprofit businesses to raise money or awareness for a particular cause or organization.
Capture Marketing takes this concept to heart, helping businesses connect with nonprofits. The more businesses that embrace this marketing strategy, the more positive change can be made in the community.
Whether you see the impact immediately or not, volunteering has the power to make real change happen. Do what you can, when you can and encourage others with your actions. It all starts somewhere, so choose your organization and begin the change you want to see in the world. Let the ripple start with you.