This week, I was picked from my college to be part of the Redwood City/Belmont/San Carlos Leadership Class for 2012-2013. I’m really excited about this opportunity. I have friends who have had this opportunity in their community and they really grew from it. I’m excited that I get to connect one Friday a month with local city council, county, fire, health care, etc. As I was completing the application yesterday, I got to the question about civic and volunteer activities. They asked my to list what I have done in the last 5 years. As I sat there, I thought to myself..when did I have time to volunteer? For three years, I worked full-time and went to graduate school. In between that, I planned a wedding and got married. There was a short break where I could have volunteered but then I decided to have a baby so there was being pregnant. Then the baby came and it was full-time baby. Now, I am back to working full-time and any chance I get, I try to spend it with my son. So, my answer to that question..is my volunteer activity outside of work is being a mom. I mention that the kind of work I do “student affairs” is civic (I advise student government, can’t get more civic then that), plus I provide services toÂ at-risk first generation college students. Ahh..it’s not volunteer.
This Leadership Program has taught me my first lesson, “service” is asking yourself more often..where am I being of service in my life.
I still think I am going to bring up the service of being a parent. Do you think they will mind if I start a new category of service: “being a parent”? Especially with the average work week in Silicon Valley is 60 hours. I bet those people with a family would rather spend a Saturday with their children then at a board retreat… Yet, volunteer service is still needed in our communities. But how do we do it with working, parenting, taking care of the home, etc.?
Maybe finding a volunteer activity doesn’t have to be so big as I thinking it has to be? Maybe it can be as simple as taking my son Sam with me the next time I drop of a donation or teach him about picking up trash when we see it during our evening walk around campus. Or making that financial donation when you can.