The Personal Rewards of Volunteering

Posted By Christina K. Bell

When I began working with nonprofit organizations on an ongoing basis several years ago I never could have imagined the impact these organizations would have on my life. When I saw firsthand the outpouring need for the services nonprofits offer and how exceptionally well these services are performed, very often on limited means, I couldn’t help becoming overwhelmed with the personal desire to help. Some called me overly sensitive or perhaps a little too optimistic. I just knew I could and needed to make a difference and influence my community and my world.

The first step was deciding how to give back. As a wife, mother of 3 young children and working full-time, I am already time challenged. Because of this, I wanted to commit my time to something I felt passionate about, where I felt satisfied and rewarded. Since all 3 of my children were born prematurely, I knew that my local March of Dimes chapter would be perfect. For the past two years my daughter and I have been participating in the March for Babies walk and have raised over $1,500 to help fight premature births. This past year was especially rewarding for me because my family was honored to have been chosen as the Kent County Ambassador Family. We felt it was a great way to tell others in my community about the March of Dimes and the impact they make not just nationally, but right here in Delaware. It also opened my eyes to see firsthand the challenges many nonprofits face when it comes to fundraising. Even with our efforts for the March of Dimes, I still felt we could be doing more and that my children could be more exposed to the importance of giving back.

Rewards of Volunteering - Delaware Single Audit
Christina at the 2010 March for Babies

This year my oldest son Nevin, who turned 10 in June, and I became involved with another small local nonprofit organization, Maddie’s Mission. Madison, a friend of Nevin’s from Sunday school, was involved with missions at a very young age. While waiting to become old enough to travel the world, Madison made her missionary field right here by participating in various programs and events. She even donated any money she earned from getting good grades, having yard sales, or having birthday parties to her church. She was doing things for her community and world that most kids her age were not even thinking about. Tragically, in April of 2009, at the age of 9, Madison, her dear friend Hannah and her grandmother were involved in a fatal car accident. Maddie’s Mission was established to carry out her testimony and dream of performing missionary work.

Through Maddie’s Mission, Nevin and I recently traveled to a small parish named Frome, in the Westmoreland district of Jamaica for 8 days. The main goal of this mission was to conduct various children ministry programs, similar to vacation bible school, and aid in repairing a local church. To be honest, I do not think my son or I was fully prepared for everything we saw during those 8 days, especially when we visited the pediatric ward of a local hospital. At times the need and despair surrounding me became so overwhelming I just cried. Yet, in the midst of these tears my 10-year-old son managed to make me realize why I love becoming involved even when becoming involved isn’t always easy. On the last day we were there my son gave away his favorite watch to a little boy he had met earlier in the week. Let me just say he loved this watch and timed everything. To be more specific, I knew for a fact it took us 3 hours 14 minutes and 41 seconds from takeoff to landing from Philadelphia to Jamaica. When I learned that he had followed through with his desire to give his new friend his watch I asked “Are you going to miss it? Was it hard to do?” Without missing a beat he replied, “Of course not, I was more blessed.”

Nevin’s New Friend Showing His Watch

As an advocate for nonprofit organizations in many ways, I challenge you to find out how by serving your community you can be more blessed than those being served. Contact a local nonprofit, any nonprofit, and volunteer today!

Additional Pictures from Maddie’s Mission:

Christina Painting the Front of the Church
Nevin Mixing Mud for ConcreteChristina Painting the Front of the Church

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