“Yay! It’s the weekend! Boy, it was a long work week. I am really looking forward to relaxing, maybe getting some things done around the house, lunch with a friend later, and maybe squeeze in a hike, too. Aaaah, coffee taste so good. Now I’m starting to wake up. OH! That’s right, I’m scheduled to volunteer with Extreme Community Makeover (ECM)….better hop in the shower and get going.” Yes, this was me Saturday morning. As I made my way to the Swansea neighborhood, I was thinking how I would really love to crawl back into bed. I also, thought, I need to get my energy up for the day. How do I get motivated and where will I find inspiration for my story?
One hour into the Work Day, I was still having a difficult time getting into the groove of the day. So, I got my head quiet, repeated some positive affirmations, and bam, my inspiration came. My thought was, why do I continue to come back year after year and volunteer with ECM or volunteer my time at all, especially after a long, busy work week, AND on a Saturday? I didn’t have just one answer, but many, as to why I volunteer; I’ll give you my list later. Here is what our volunteers had to say –
Excel Energy’s Day of Service had many people participating with ECM and to my surprise it wasn’t just their employees volunteering, but their customers, as well! I asked Excel’s customer, Ann, why she volunteered this work day. Ann said, that she liked the idea of restoring Denver’s historic, charming neighborhoods. She said, she wanted to be a part of something positive and constructive that would help our city and the community. Youngsters, and brothers, Garret and Dean were also customers of Excel. Garret, said that high schools in Colorado require that students have a certain amount of volunteer hours to graduate. He thought it was a great idea as it made him feel useful, and he felt like he was making a difference.
Company 5280 Waste Solutions employees were also joining us on this day. I recognized Mary from a previous workday when she and her daughter Ruby had volunteered individually. I remember Mary, because this woman had a good vibe and a beautiful smile. Definitely, a smile while you work kind of person. Mary told me that she had been given so much in life and was grateful for all that she had; volunteering was her way of giving back and showing her gratitude for a good life. She also liked the idea of working side-by-side with her co-workers, as they got to know each other better. Lastly, Mary said that volunteering made her feel good. I couldn’t agree with her more!
Another work group was Regis Jesuit High School, participating as an annual event. Kimberlea and her son Kauldahn strolled up to the command center to fill up cups of water to take back to their team; no doubt giving back and being of service was in Kimberlea’s blood. Kimberlea, said that volunteering helped her to realize that her life is a blessing. She felt she made a difference and she liked that she could help make someone’s day and put a smile on their face. Like Mary from 5280, Kimberlea had a good vibe; she noticed the beauty of the neighborhood, the people, and what it means to be of service to another.
I share many of the same reasons why I volunteer as our volunteers do. However, I have often said, the reason I volunteer is because it helps me take the focus off myself. When I volunteer my woes seem smaller, my day becomes brighter, and my spirit is lifted. I walk away from every single Work Day with a renewed hope for humanity, deeper compassion and acceptance of my fellow beings. Not only, are we all making a positive difference to our community, but we are also strengthening the bonds amongst ourselves. Recognizing that we all want to know that we matter, that we are seen, and that we all have value. Mostly, volunteering changes me for the better. I like to think when I walk away…when we walk away from a Work Day with Extreme Community Makeover…that we are more enlightened, more compassionate and positive, and that we are raising the consciousness of our world.
~Lisa, ECM Communications Team