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Pitfalls Of Volunteering?

With some free time on my hands and wanting to volunteer my time talents and energy for a cause that resonates with me I did an online search with the words Volunteer and ( My City ).  This may be help you to find opportunities in your area.

I learned that being able to focus on something outside of myself and being around other people is a good thing   …as much as you can tolerate.  About  a year ago, I filled out a volunteer form for the Wounded Warrior Project.  I NEVER heard back or even an acknowledgement that my submission had been received.  I visited their site again a few weeks back with same results.  They have lost their credibility with me.

When this type of thing happens and it seems to happen often,  I question the organizations plea (or post) for volunteers and question my willingness to give of my self to poorly run, unappreciative entities.  It feels BAD, when after you have decided to set aside the time and energy to Give and you are just left hanging.

There is a literacy tutoring program in my county that requires several weeks of training before you can begin volunteering, I did the training and it was long and grueling.  Success at reaching the end!  Now several months later I have yet to volunteer and its not for lack of trying on my part.  One of the individuals in charge is a complete numskull.  Keeps making huge mistakes, saying one thing and doing another (over and over), causing me needless car travel and time to facilities for absolutely no reason, only to discover once I arrive.

I have grown weary and disappointed of this organization which is sponsored by the county-wide library system.  I thought it would be  reputable and professionally run, wow how I was wrong.

So when you try or want to do something good, something to help others or just give back in some meaningful way don’t be shocked if you find roadblocks along the way.  I know that sounds unbelievable and it really is!  I plan on shifting my focus in a new  direction since I don’t want to be affiliated with such a sloppy organization.  The point is, keep trying until you find what it is that works for you ( that’s my plan even now, a little over a year later ).  Volunteering can be good for you.

With the East Coast having suffered so much in the wake  of such a terrible storm,  the Red Cross is reputable and if that interests you, go for it!  I am sure they will be grateful and take you up on your good intentions.

UPDATE:   I officially withdrew from the volunteer position, wanted to refrain from throwing any one person under the bus and going into details.  I was asked over and over so I gave a few examples only to hear the excuses and reasons why that might have happened.  Exactly what I didn’t want to receive and in a sense invalidating my reasons for feeling so frustrated, fed up and finally throwing in the towel.   I am in a very bad mood, down, depressed a bit and in an ugly place following that phone call.  Being a grown-up and responsible I called them rather than just walk away and leave them hanging, now I sort of wish I had done just that.

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  1. I’ve had that same experience with volunteering. And I haven’t succeeded yet. At first I was hurt and frustrated. Now I’ve decided that I just haven’t found the niche that is right for me…

  2. I didn’t encounter this exact problem when I started volunteering, but it IS extremely annoying for an agency to ask for help if none is needed. I agree that it’s important to keep looking until you find the right place. It’s good to know what role you might play as a volunteer at that agency before you even begin and pay attention to how many volunteers are already there. I once volunteered at one place where I wasn’t sure if I was needed at first, then I was needed for over a year, and then I wasn’t needed again. There were so many volunteers coming in and out of that place that you were easily replaceable.



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