From picking an elderly woman’s purse off the ground to helping my little sister make cupcakes for her class, the joy of actions that precede these two words are why I volunteer in my community. It isn’t about validation or credit, but about knowing that the work that I do can alleviate even a small burden for someone else.
As a student at CU Boulder, this passion for service led me to serve as the Vice President of Community Service for my business fraternity. This role entailed scheduling and coordinating all of the volunteer and donation opportunities for my chapter and allowed me to meet incredible organizations and inspirationally good-hearted people.
One group, There With Care, is an organization that aims to provide non-monetary resources such as transportation, food, or counseling support to families with a child or mother facing a critical illness. I quickly fell in love with this nonprofit’s mission as I identified with its simple goal of relieving basic burdens. Julie Hess, the volunteer coordinator for There With Care, once told me a story about a volunteer that was delivering a crock-pot meal to a family’s home. As the dad opened the door, he apologized for the condition of his half-painted house. Realizing the family’s dire situation and seeing an opportunity to address this burden, the volunteer gathered paint and other volunteers to finish painting the family’s home. Later, the dad shared with the volunteer that because of the family’s difficult situation, the meals were the only reason he was able to spend quality time with his wife. Julie Hess summed it up well in saying, “painting the house helped to take one thing off of the family’s plate during a time of crisis and the crock-pot meal gave warmth and nourishment to a marriage that was most likely under stress.”
This story reminds me of the work I have had the opportunity to do at El Pomar Foundation. While the tasks can sometimes seem to center on small details, they also can relieve small burdens from the workloads of others at the Foundation and it is all of the details together that create meaningful impact for nonprofits across the state. The Foundation has broadened my understanding of meaningful work, showing me that small actions can go a long way. Whether in delivering a crock-pot meal to a family in crisis or preparing an agenda for a weekly meeting, positive impact can be made at every level.