“Volunteers needed,” flashed a bold red poster from the Puget Sound Blood Center, as I was picking up my mail after work, in my apartment complex. About a year and a half into my first real job after college, I had not done a single volunteering job. Before that, I somehow managed to find time in between my busy grad school classes and assignments to volunteer in some community based organizations in and around my University. I had been looking to find a volunteer group ever since I came to Seattle, but never made a real effort to find one. I had become too busy caught up with work.
A voice inside me prompted me to take the volunteer contact info from the poster. I did and as I was walking into the elevator, I realized that my good intentions to volunteer would not mean anything to the community if I didn’t actually do anything about it. I decided to stop procrastinating and to call the volunteer co-coordinators. I actually dialed her number right after I got off the elevator. I did not want to put this off any longer. I could not take the guilt of being selfish, and not giving back anything to the community. So Kathie (the then volunteer co-coordinators in the Central Seattle branch) called me back the next day to schedule my first session.
On my first day, Kathie greeted me and gave me a quick introduction about the Blood Center. Then, she introduced me to Kristi (another volunteer), who taught me the different steps involved in registering donors. It was simple, and it took me about 10 minutes before I could register my first donor. I was thrilled with my first registration. I could really feel a spark rekindle within me doing something like this again. It was a matter of days before I got my permanent shift (second and fourth Thursdays of the month). I thought, I could definitely handle six hours a month of volunteering, in spite of an active social and professional life. It is a lot easier than I thought and I look forward to my volunteering shifts.
I really enjoy being a “donor registration volunteer” at Puget Sound Blood Center. It gives me a chance to meet and work with some wonderful people, who really care about the noble mission of “saving lives.” These little acts of kindness can go a long way in helping someone, be it Jessica who is fighting blood cancer or Chris who just had a life threatening accident. I get to be a part of something extra ordinary that really makes a difference to this the world. I had pledged some gifts in the past year but volunteering again made me realize that monetary gifts can only go so far and can never match the time and effort that you give to the community. Volunteering gives me time off from work and helps focus my energies on something entirely different. And the feeling that you one gets at the end of the day is priceless. So what are you waiting for….give us a call. You have no idea how many lives you could help save.
You too can become a volunteer. There many ways to help the Blood Center and the community.