We must first be the change we want to see to change society. Volunteering in the community is a great way to help and connect with individuals. I began my journey at Girls Inc. as a volunteer. It was the most meaningful experience of my life.
What started as a homework assignment turned into an awesome career. I can remember precisely when my professor told us that we’d be required to volunteer at an agency of our choice for a total of 30 hours. I was new to Sioux City, Iowa. I had been living in the community for two months, to be exact. I figured I could help out at the YMCA; it was a place where I spent most of my summers as a child. I was unable to get a hold of anyone. Coincidentally, the basketball manager on my team worked at Girls Inc. She was also a former member of Girls, Inc. How crazy is that!
She invited me to complete my hours there and mentioned that it was a cool place. I didn’t hesitate to get the ball rolling. As a senior in college, I was stressed about so much at that time. However, during the hours that I volunteered I felt needed. It was easy to forget all about my worries during an intense game of dodgeball. I played with the girls, taught character building curriculums, and even had the chance to connect with them through conversations.
I’ve always wanted to work with kids, and from the moment I stepped foot in Girls Inc., it has always felt like home. I don’t have any kids of my own, but I’ll relentlessly advocate for the program and what we stand for in the lives of young girls. Had I never taken the initiative to complete the homework, I know I wouldn’t be where I am today. I know that it’s hard to find time to volunteer, and you’re not compensated for it. However, the lives you impact, and the connections you make, are priceless. I’m living proof!
I started as a volunteer, eventually was hired as a program staff, and I’m now the Youth Development Director! Be the change, lend a helping hand, volunteer today!
By Olivia Ray