Three Tips to Being an Effective Volunteer

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Are you currently using your gifts and talents to serve in your community? This week is National Volunteer Appreciation Week, and it is the perfect time to talk about finding a place to plug in and be a  blessing to others. Last week, I blogged about how our happiness tends to increase when we genuinely serve others. This week, I want to talk a little bit more about how to jump into volunteering and serve effectively.

There are countless volunteer opportunities around us. Whether you are a busy parent or a business person or an empty-nester, there are simple and meaningful ways each of us can reach out and help.

Begin by considering the issues that tug at your heartstrings. What is your passion? Ask the Lord to lead you to the place where you can best use your God-given abilities to make a difference. You may want to consider serving together as a family. There is no better time than the present to make a decision to step out of your comfort zone and into the lives of others in need.

Certainly we want our time of service to be worthwhile and genuinely helpful. I want to offer three ways to increase our effectiveness as we volunteer.

  1. Consistency – Let’s show up on time and be there each time we are scheduled to serve. We are not just volunteers, rather we are an important part of the whole process. Our help is valuable and the organization in which we serve depends on us to be there. Also, it is easy to do a one-and-done service project that makes us feel good for a moment, but true change (both for us and those we serve) happens when we commit to being there on a regular basis.
  2. Humility – Pride says, “I’m going to go in and fix these people because they are broken.” Humility says, “I’m broken. They are broken. We all are broken in different ways. We all need love.” When we serve with a heart of humility, we help others recognize their value, rather than making them feel like “a project” or helpless.
  3. Connectivity – We build a connection and give dignity to others by listening to them. Ask questions and pay attention to their heart and their pain. We must also be vulnerable and real and be willing to share a little of our own struggles as well. Relationships are developed not only by what we do, but by the way we listen and the way we speak.

True service is not simply to make us feel better about ourselves, but rather to impact the lives of others in a positive way. The apostle Paul wrote, “Each of us should not only look out for our own interests, but also the interest of others.” May each of us find the place that we can joyfully give a little of our heart to elevate and love another person.

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For more information about joining the amazing team of volunteers at Engage Positive Parenting Initiative go to: www.EngageParenting.org

Photo at top of blog by Cristi Tohatan on Unsplash

Increasing Happiness through Cultivating Kindness

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Do you have a genuine desire to help others and improve the world around you? Research tells us that people who demonstrate kindness through acts of altruism or volunteering on a consistent basis generally experience a higher life-satisfaction and even show fewer depressive symptoms. Whether you get involved through an organization or club as a volunteer, or simply reach out to a co-worker or friend who is struggling or lonely, caring and compassion has multiple benefits.

Certainly, our motive in volunteering is not just to make ourselves happy, but a sense of satisfaction and contentment is a welcomed outcome. Typically those who are required to volunteer (for a school assignment, college application, etc.) do not feel the same sort of satisfaction as those who are intrinsically motivated. A sincere desire to help others is one of the keys to experiencing a sense of contentment and well-being.

It’s difficult to give love if we don’t feel loved. Demonstrating a true compassion and love begins in our heart, when we recognize our own brokenness and need for redemption. When we know and receive God’s love, we are better able to pour out that grace-filled love toward others. John (the beloved disciple) put it this way, “We love because He first loved us.” As we draw close to Him and embrace His love, we can allow that love to overflow into a life of care and service.

Additionally, studies show that the recipients of acts of kindness who are encouraged to participate or cooperate in some way experience a greater level of happiness than those who simply receive the benefits with no participation. I found this research particularly interesting, since the parenting outreach I started several years ago invites parents to participate in the classes and empowers them to discover their own solutions, instead of simply being told what to do.  And yes I’d love for you to consider joining our team of volunteers at Engage Positive Parenting Initiative! For more information go to www.EngageParenting.com

So where do we begin? Prayerfully ask God to lead and guide you to a place where your gifts and talents can be used to help others. He has equipped each one of us with unique abilities to care and serve. The apostle John reminded us, “Let us not simply love in words or in speech, but in actions and in truth.” May we be faithful to step out of our comfort zone and into the lives of those who could use a helping heart.

Paper bag Photo by Brigitte Tohm on Unsplash

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Next week is Volunteer Appreciation Week. It’s the perfect time to join the team at Engage Parenting! Find out how at: Engage Parenting Volunteers

ENGAGE with Giving Tuesday

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The stress of poverty can have long-term emotional and physical effects on children. Recognizing the importance of encouraging parents to nurture their kids and help them break out of the cycle of poverty, Karol started ENGAGE Positive Parenting Initiative in 2012. ENGAGE uses a unique discussion-based approach to empower parents in their responsibilities of raising their families. We cover topics ranging from education to nutrition to emotional and social well-being.

This year ENGAGE added programs for moms in prisons (80% of incarcerated women are moms) and teen moms in public schools. We invite you to participate in making an impact in changing lives for generations to come.

Giving Tuesday is a wonderful day designed to turn our hearts toward caring for others following Black Friday and Cyber Monday. We invite you to join with us in bringing hope to children by strengthening parents sense of responsibility in the home. ENGAGE is a non-profit completely run by volunteers. Your gift of $50 – $100 will provide lesson books, class materials and snacks for the parents we serve. Thank you for engaging with us as we continue to encourage parents to love, nurture and build a better future for their kids.

Click Here to donate.

Click Here to Volunteer

Click Here to Join our Prayer Team  and fill out info at the bottom of the page.

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Make a Positive Impact Today!

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Does your heart bleed like mine when you think of children caught in the cycle of poverty? Several years ago I started Engage Positive Parenting Initiative, an outreach that is making a difference in the lives of parents and children in areas affected by poverty or adversity. Today, (North Texas Giving Day) we have you have the opportunity to help.

  • $25 provides 25 Engage Parenting booklets
  • $50 provides a class flip chart and certificates for parents
  • $100 trains 4 volunteers or provides snacks for an entire session
  • $275 provides for all the needs of an entire 8-week class

 

We invite you to participate. Engage Positive Parenting is part of the Women’s Non-profit Alliance, so the link you will use will be slightly different than the other links for North Texas Giving Day. Here’s the link to use:

http://womensnpa.wpengine.com/donate/north-texas-giving-day

Be sure to enter Engage Positive Parenting for the organization.

Thank you for your generosity and your commitment to Engage. We would be honored if you shared this info with your friends and family to let them know about our program.  Please visit www.engageparenting.com for more info about this wonderful organization.

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If given the opportunity to choose our path in life, most of us would pick the easier road with less bumps, pot holes and challenges. I know I would. Simply put, few of us would deliberately choose a difficult journey in life, one riddled with heart ache, pain and loss. Yet in a way, if we choose to be compassionate people, we are choosing to join into someone else’s pain. The word compassion actually means “with suffering.” The root word passion comes from the Latin word “suffering.” If we want to be compassionate people, then in a way, we are inviting suffering into our lives – the suffering of another person. How far are we willing to go to reach out and touch the life of someone else?

Recently I heard the results of a study by the Cato Institute stating, “Poverty is perpetuated through poor parenting.” That statement stuck with me. I must admit, my heart grieves for “at risk” kids who have little hope of breaking through the cycle of poverty. As I began thinking about what I could do to make a difference, My mind was flooded with the  thought, “Karol, you go all over the nation teaching men and women how to be positive parents, why aren’t you going to the impoverished communities in your own city?”

That prompting led me to write a discussion-style curriculum for parents. The lessons enable moms and dads to recognize their responsibilities in raising their families, and guide them to positive action steps. With the concept in place, my next step was to figure out where to implement this unique parenting class. I didn’t know where to go, so I prayed and asked the Lord to show me. Funny thing, I opened up the newspaper and saw an article about Buckner Children and Family Services of North Texas. Buckner has an outreach program in one of the housing developments in Dallas. With a little bit of fear and trembling, I emailed them and asked if they were interested in parenting classes.

They said yes! Oh my, now I had to take a step of faith and step out of my comfort zone and into the lives of men and women that I had never met. I knew that I didn’t understand what their lives were like, but God did.  So I prayed for God to love through me and make this a fruitful and meaningful time together with the parents. He answered that prayer! Since our start 4 years ago, God has done an amazing work and has allowed me to build bridges through loving relationships with the parents in the community. I call the program ENGAGE Positive Parenting Initiative, and we have trained over 60 volunteers and have touched lives in 12 different locations around Dallas and Fort Worth.

It’s time to build back the strength of the family in communities across the nation. I feel like a woman on a mission! Where is God calling you to take a step of faith and step out of your comfort zone?

If you would like to join in our mission through volunteering or praying, we invite you to join us:

www.EngageParenting.com

We are participating in North Texas Giving Day on Sept 22. Here is the link and be sure to choose Engage Parenting in the Organization box. http://womensnpa.wpengine.com/donate/north-texas-giving-day/

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