The Oak Life Journal
Nov | Dec 2023
From the Editor
"Volunteers Are Life"
By Cameron Talbot
2 minute read
This edition of The Oak Life Journal hits home for me. Volunteering my time to support Love in Action Children’s Home is one of the greatest privileges of my life, and has been for nearly a decade now. In that time, I have shoveled compost, hosted a weekly art therapy class, mopped bathrooms, run fundraisers and cemented walls. I’ve seen amazing children come and go, and watched many of them grow up.
Now, as president of Love in Action, I can see the efforts of the volunteers working for the Home from a broader point of view, and can say with confidence: Volunteers are life.
They really are!
Each volunteer brings something unique—their life experiences, skills and wisdom. They bring opportunities for the children to learn. They bring an extra pair of hands to the work projects, and much-needed relief to tired caregivers and directors. Whether a volunteer is pulling weeds or running an extracurricular activity, their energy and impact are invaluable to the current of life in the Home.
But there’s something else I’ve learned along the way, equally as important—volunteers require care, too!
In the great exchange of life and love that is happening in a volunteering opportunity, they deserve your heartfelt connection. An underappreciated volunteer is a poor reflection on your organization. Say ‘thank you,’ buy them a meal, or host a celebration event. Better yet, consider your faithful volunteers as family, and check in on them personally from time to time. Never take them for granted!
Care should also take the shape of building healthy boundaries, writing volunteer policies, and making sure everyone involved with the children is screened, informed, and trained in trauma-informed care if they plan to work directly with the children. That kind of structure sets everyone up for success.
Does that level of care feel like too much effort?
Volunteers are worth it.
So if you haven’t recently, this is your reminder to hug your volunteers and thank them for everything they do for the Home, and the value they see in you. Ysabel’s article, “5 Things Volunteers Want” is a great place to start reading in this edition. And the final piece for the month is “Volunteer Policy Examples,” courtesy of Oak Life. Feel free to snatch those and implement them into your Home—everyone involved will appreciate the extra effort and protection.
We all need one another, and hosting a successful volunteer program opens the door to greater life and energy in your Home.