By Cheylon Brown, MLK Jr. Rec Center Manager
In a world where nothing seems constant but change, I believe we need balance. Yes, balance, that word seems to take on an impossible connotation and cause a defeated mindset. However, the reality is that as individuals, we can aid in creating balance in our communities and the lives of individuals.
Of course, those words seem easy to say, but I contend that while our individual lives may lack balance, we ultimately create universal balance by giving of ourselves.
Yes, it is possible to help others and help yourself simultaneously. This is a testament that I have lived for over 25 years. I am one of many. According to nonprofitsource.com, "Approximately 63 million Americans — 25% of the adult population — volunteer their time, talents, and energy to making a difference."
Personally, I have served on over 26 boards, and committees and I cherish every moment and recall the great feeling of fulfillment and joy after giving of myself.
In the beginning, I started simply volunteering to help single parents in my church. This effort took very little money or time but made a lasting impact on youth's lives. Many of the youth are still in touch with me today. When I think back, it was a birthday party here, movie there, or sporting event somewhere else. The key was not in the amount of money, but the gift of myself and the minimal expertise I had at the time. The youth simply wanted to have fun, and honestly, so did I. Then, I progressed to joining organizations that made positive impacts on the community. Not only was I learning new things and meeting new people, but I was gaining new experiences and having fun as well. Before I recognized it, my network and influence grew along with my impact.
For example, the true power of giving comes when people enjoy the moments created, escape life's situations for the moment, and are empowered to believe that their world is not as bad as it seems. Your power to show genuine kindness, make sacrifices of your time and finances are seeds that change thoughts, thoughts that impact actions, actions that cause positive change for someone else. What a reward!
So many times, we secretly search for ways to make a difference…Give.
Also, the key to giving is not to place too much pressure on yourself. Identify areas that align and ignite your passion so that your gift does not seem like a chore or a job. Focus on the end goal; hopefully, the end goal is about others. Whether you are coaching a team, writing a check, picking up liter, donating to a cause at the local grocery store, serving on an advisory board, or helping the local PTA, remember to have fun in the process.
For instance, Denton Parks and Recreation has numerous opportunities to give. Volunteers can help Keep Denton Beautiful, assist with special events, tutor or teach classes.
Another great thing about volunteering is the time commitment is based on your availability; therefore, opportunities are vast. Personally, volunteers make a significant difference in our programs. Your gift of time, talent, or finances will help create balance in the world. No, one person can't do it alone, but enough one-persons can change the world a moment at a time.