Viewpoint: Volunteering Is a Reward in Itself

By Barbara Gould
Special to the Palisades News

We live in a wonderful community, which is made better by all of those who volunteer. You can tell the time of year by what sport your neighbor is coaching. I see dads loading up the car with a bag full of soccer balls along with an ice chest of drinks and snacks. That parent’s kids are learning something besides how to play the game; they are growing up with the idea of helping others.

What about the dad who leads a Boy Scout troop? Part of becoming an Eagle Scout is planning and executing a community-service project. Local Troop 223 has an unbelievable number of Eagle Scouts, as almost every Scout achieves that honor. And this in face of the current nationwide average of 6 percent of Scouts who achieve that rank. My sons still list Eagle Scout on their resumes.

I met a woman recently who gets children’s books from the library and reads to Alzheimer’s patients at Atria Senior Living on Sunset. Her husband is one of those patients, but she also has a lifetime of dedication to community/charity volunteering.

Several of my friends volunteer to read to children at the library. Some also work at book fairs.

At my granddaughter’s elementary school, a volunteer parent teaches choir while another mother teaches the children dance steps for the shows they put on. You should see the smile on my third-grade granddaughter’s face when she talks about singing and dancing.

They say if you want to get something done, ask a busy person. Sylvia Boyd volunteers at the Discovery Shop, finds speakers for the monthly programs at her church, organizes about 70 volunteers for the Fourth of July parade and serves on the board of her homeowners’ association. She was a Golden Sparkplug winner this year for starting and running that speakers series.

Another neighbor couple is active in their church. He is president of the seniors group and she is the secretary. In addition, she plays the piano for programs put on by the students. I’m often identified as the lady who lives across the street from these wonderful people.

It is my firm belief that the actions of a parent teach a child as much as or more than their words. Those of us whose parents volunteered are likely to do so, too. I remember when I was eight and my brother was six. I made some craft items and we set up a table to sell them. We took in a whopping $7.92, which my mother dutifully sent to the L.A. Children’s Hospital at our request. We received a thank-you letter as if we’d sent them thousands of dollars.

Now, my volunteerism includes charitable organizations and currently serving on the board of our homeowners’ association.

I’ve noticed that in any group there are always some who carry more than their fair share of the load. I’ve never asked them why, but I’ll bet their answers would be like mine.

I am convinced that I get more from what I do than the group for which I do it. It gives me great pleasure to do something nice for someone else. My reward is seeing someone else happy because of what I’ve done.

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