Some people like to refer to volunteers as everyday heroes. President Bill Clinton said, "Volunteering is an act of heroism on a grand scale." As far back as the 1800s, King George IV said "The highest of distinctions is service to others."
For most volunteers, this is no search for distinction or kudos. This is a calling. We do this because we love people. We do this to put a smile on the face of others.
Luckily, scientists say that we're also helping ourselves when we volunteer. Mark Snyder, a psychologist at the Center for the Study of Individual and Society and the University of Minnesota says that "people who volunteer tend to have higher self-esteem, psychological well-being, and happiness."
As a volunteer, I think I can agree with that. I absolutely love the feeling of donating my time for the benefit of others. Most people who have volunteered know this feeling.
This past July, I ended my volunteering time at Sunrise Senior Living in Shelby Township. I spent 4 years as the bingo caller every Saturday. Please find my open letter to my friends at Sunrise below. I hope it will inspire you to take a small time out of your day to do good.
Dear Sunrise Family,
Words can’t express my boundless gratitude for the unexpected cake, card, & gas credit. I was left speechless by your generosity and thoughtfulness – I thought I was just coming for regular bingo on my last day!
Volunteering for the past four years has been one of the best experiences I’ve had in my life. Ever since I was seven years old I have always had a passion for spending time with the elderly. Just past my seventh birthday, I spent three months volunteering at the Baptist Manor in Farmington Hills. It was nothing like Sunrise, however. During my time at Sunrise I realized that volunteering becomes a powerful experience. I learned a lot about myself through the residents – characteristics like being caring, patient, and sincere. As Mohandas Gandhi once said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
Because my grandparents died before I was born, coming to Sunrise was like visiting grandma & grandpa each week. I was so lucky to have dozens of ‘grandparents’ that would ask me how I was doing, how school was going, and what new assignment I was up to.
When I think of all the wonderful memories we have shared together, I find myself reminiscing of some hilarious, yet meaningful moments – moments I will never forget. The staff & residents will always have a place in my heart forever.
Although I am excited to continue to follow my dream in journalism, I’m also saddened to leave my Sunrise family. I will definitely be back to visit! I hope this message will be shared with the regular bingo participants.