In my encore, I work with a number of social purpose organizations including The Red Cross, Oregon Public Broadcasting, Oregon Food Bank, and Oregon FIRST Robotics.
I was motivated to become involved in this type of work by being brought up to give back to the community. What has given me great pleasure, for almost a decade, is being a volunteer coordinator for the Oregon FIRST Robotics Regional Tournament.
It has been a very interesting position, helping others, driven by altruism, to support a nurturing environment for high school students in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) educational program. During a STEM tournament, one sees a personal fulfillment in the eyes of the adult volunteer, a quiet satisfaction of helping/watching something many wish had been available to them when they were in high school.
One sees a personnel fulfillment in the eyes of the recent STEM team alumni, who gratefully come back to support and know works well. One sees it in the eyes of the parents watching in the bleachers, who have never hesitated to a request for help in a moment of the tournament’s need. It takes a village to raise a child” is an expression from my childhood. I now know better the meaning behind it for I understand we are a social species. We depend on each other for security and education, inspiration and opportunity. We live bound to each other by the civilizations we create. And when we create them well, we prosper and grow, as do all species similarly successful in their nature.
For humans, we call that act of nurturing volunteering. My advice: Don’t waste the capabilities of those with experience!