The last four weeks I have had some extra time. Time in which I found myself often pondering the past, the present and the future. What are my future goals? What are my expectations? How can I best achieve those goals? What is God's plan for my life? What skills do I have to offer my community and future employers?
Yesterday, a simple conversation set into motion a potential new course for my life. While I am still in the early stages of this consideration it sent my mind reeling as I considered the possibilities, my capabilities, and my experiences.
It is no secret I am a community volunteer. I have offered my abilities and talents to many different organizations and purposes over the last twenty years. Hours and hours, countless hours, thousands of hours, I have given of my time. There are moments I have wondered the worth of that time. I choose to believe that it is invaluable. That it has been appreciated. That I have offered hope, encouragement and resources that have changed lives for the better. Changed my community for the better. It is what keeps me doing what I do, especially when there is no monetary gain. This is not to say there has been no personal gain in what I have done. I think that is what I am realizing this morning. I have gained life experiences that are uniquely mine. I have a skill set unlike anyone else I know, simply from my many experiences. I may not currently have a college degree with my name on it. Yet I have so much to offer.
I started thinking through the various organizations I have volunteered with over the last two decades and skills I have learned while serving with them. This not a full comprehensive list but the following are things that have helped me grow as a person.
Flight of Hope Chrysalis- Logistics Coordinator, Lay Director, Board Member
Logistically overseeing large group events of 100+ people including site selection, inventory, recruiting man power, scheduling, team building, working with outside facilities, involvement on a board of directors, responsibility for youth, team work and cooperation.
Trinity Church- Early Childhood volunteer, CR and Choir Director
Participating in the care of young children. Understanding the vulnerability of youth and abuse prevention measures. Public safety and security. Mentoring children. Weekly relationship opportunities. Growing as a musician and director. The ability to command and direct 70 students in an orderly manner. Exposure to at risk children and their families.
Greater Lansing Garden Project- Community Garden Leader
Registration, plotting and assigning of plots. Unifying culturally diverse people. Cultural understanding and awareness. Water management. Communication with partners. Advocating for and distributing resources. Learning a foreign language. Youth gardening; sharing my love of nature and gardening experiences with youth. Self-educating to better serve my gardeners, I did not start out gardening with any experience.
Trusting God in all things! The value of a safe place. Communication. I found I had a voice. Leading peers. The art of being available. How to listen to others. The power of prayer.
Potter Park Zoo- Docent
Leading large groups on educational experiences throughout the zoo as well as on outreaches. Expanded my science knowledge. Learned how to communicate with and take command of large groups. How to be both engaging as well as relevant, knowing your audience. How to set realistic expectations for large group movement and involvement. Public safety. How to handle a variety of animals for education.
Hawk Island Triathlon- volunteer
The concept that every person has a role and every role is important to a successful event. Behind the scene preparation. Registration. Finish line chip collection and medal distribution. Encourager. Clean-up.
CHESS- Co-op teacher, field trip coordinator
Lesson plans. Public speaking. Cooperative learning. Managing and engaging varying ages of children. Classes I led while working with Enrichment Day included; Michigan History, PE, Destination Imagination, Life Skills and Nature Study. As a tutor I led various Science courses. As a field trip coordinator I covered every aspect of field trips; communication with the site liaisons, registration, fee collections, transportation, overseeing arrival and departure, covering expectations and objectives with other leaders.
Fenner Nature Center- community volunteer
Public speaking. A love for birds. An understanding of our local natural habitats. Maintaining animal exhibits. Participation in community events. Paying attention to the simple, yet beautiful things that surround us.
R Academy- homeschool teacher
I learned to see each child as an individual. Recognizing strengths and weaknesses. Lesson planning. How to follow a curriculum. How to think outside of the box. How to make learning relevant. How to set learning goals and objectives. Responsibility. Relearned every aspect of early education. A renewed love of learning. Solidified my understanding of key concepts by teaching them. How to maximize resources. Developed a lifelong partnership with our local library. I have learned how to see things through the lens of a child, not taking for granted the many opportunities and blessings we experienced.
When you mash all of these things together with my work experience prior to having children, you get me. A culturally aware, responsible, caring individual who loves youth, especially those at risk, that is ready to encourage, educate and change this world for the better.
I can not wait to see where God leads me in the future and what new skills I may obtain. I'm ready.
Side note- I am looking for people to use as references. Send me a PM if you are willing and able.