This week I’d like to focus more on the Happy part of the name of my column, rather than the Gourmand.
People who know me will shake their heads and say how can you separate the two? Well, I suppose in some ways I can’t. But I’d like to offer a different lens for you to look through.
I share most often through food, but I like to share in other ways too. I share my time when I can, and although my schedule is topsy turvy lately, I have still tried to keep up on my cherished volunteer moments.
My longest standing commitment is with Girl Guides.
For the past 17 years, my alter ego has been Poppy, a Girl Guide leader. I started out with another new adult volunteer and worked with her as her daughter grew through the stages of the organization, from Brownies to Guides to Pathfinders and finally to Rangers.
Now we have both gone back to the beginning with a Sparks unit (girls aged five and six). Every Wednesday evening, and a few weekends camping, I get to soak up the energy and enthusiasm of 25 girls. Amidst all the years of crafts and games and field trips and cookies, I have been able to share my passions with dozens of girls. I hope I have given them a few pearls of wisdom. I know they have given me buckets of beautiful memories.
Over the last two years I had more time on my hands and so I added other volunteer work. My new work as a teacher of English as a second language gave me one new opportunity to share, and my passion for dogs showed me the other one.
Twice a month, I host an online class for conversational English on a platform started for us “mature” folks (meaning 55 and older) called Get Set Up. I have met people from around the world and had many engaging chats. I have learned as much as they have.
Dog owners are dedicated to their furry friends, but sometimes that gets to be hard. When I learned of an organization called Elder Dog that was assisting older people who needed help with their dogs, I was happy to sign up as a dog walker.
I got to know a handsome Bichon named Ty and have had lovely chats with his owner.
All my volunteer efforts bring me a special joy. I get so much from all of them. The time I spend is repaid in smiles, love, laughter and even possibly a legacy. Sharing a jar of jam isn’t nearly as powerful as that.
I know that most folks are even busier now that the world is getting back to its normal speed. I also know that a sense of community is only built when we give first.
Maybe you’ll think I’m being overly altruistic this week, but I’m going to put this out there anyway—give some time and you will not regret it. It is one of the best investments you can make.
All the organizations I volunteer with are looking for more people, if any of those causes strike your fancy. And there are plenty of others that would be happy for your help if you can make time.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.