I guess it’s only natural to focus on the challenges of each stage of life; but how much more rewarding it is when we seek out the opportunities presented, especially when they involve enriching the life of another. Though I am considered a “senior citizen,” I plan to always be open to serving others through volunteering.
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is ‘What are you doing for others?” -Martin Luther King Jr.
The quote above, by the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, has always been one of my favorites. I love Dr. King’s words because, at least in my own attempts to explain why I feel it necessary to perform service for others, I seemingly fail to capture the original impulse which has led me to service in the first place. There’s always something missing from my explanation; something just beneath the surface which I can’t quite put into words. This inarticulation presents a strange paradox that I suppose many people other than myself find themselves in, particularly those who enter public service fields. With that said, I’ve found myself reflecting on this quote a lot over the last year. You see, I’ve been working as an AmeriCorps member here at the Family Care Network since September 2016. AmeriCorps is a federal program with the express goal of engaging adults in public service work with aims of "helping others and meeting critical needs in the community." The simplest way to think of AmeriCorps is as the U.S. domestic version of the more well-known Peace Corps program.
Our volunteers are not only appreciated, they are critical to our work. As a Community-Based Organization, our agency is heavily embedded in our community, just as our community is embedded in us—we must mutually serve and respond to one another’s needs. Caring for local children, youth and families means that we need a variety of people to carry out an assortment of important positions, including mentoring and tutoring, as well as volunteering at events, in our office or to meet a family’s needs. Without a team of people pulling together, contributing their time, talents and compassion to our mission, we could not execute a program, meet a single need, change one life, or empower one person to reach their goals, let alone the over 1800 lives we impact annually. Our community of volunteers are vital to us achieving our mission year in and year out
Relationships are interesting. They are kind of like cells in our body. You know how cells are always bumping into each other, some attach to make new things, some just float around independently, and some join together to fight off bad stuff. We are always bumping into people through the routines of our everyday lives. Through this process we make new friends or acquaintances, maybe even enemies; but from time to time, a relationship will just click and a real connection and unusual bond is forged. Well, I feel very fortunate to have “bumped” into Jac Jacobs, his wife, Trish, and their son, Mathew. Ours has definitely been a relationship that clicked; and for 14 years later we’re still fast friends.
As the Christmas holiday is less than 24 hours away, we here at FCNI are reflecting on all the ways our amazing Central Coast community gives towards our efforts throughout the year. One of the most vital ways that you give throughout the year is with your time—probably the most precious commodity we each possess.