Raise Your Hand :: April is National Volunteer Month


Volunteering comes in many different forms: schools, rural fire departments, blood banks, food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, and so many more. Volunteers step in to provide shelter, medical care and clothing; they offer comforting words or sage advice. April is Global Volunteer Month. Get inspired with opportunities to volunteer in Birmingham.

volunteer in BirminghamWhere I give my time

Time – that resource we mommas never seem to have enough of. That doesn’t mean we can’t find ways to provide meaningful service. I remember when my kids were small, I volunteered where they were. Concession stand? I’m there. Sunday school teacher? Count me in. Elementary school fair? I can take tickets. Now, with adult children and a schedule of my own choosing, I have more options. But I still teach Sunday school – I learn something new every Sunday from my students!

If you need help finding volunteer options, the Points of Light Foundation offers a searchable directory with thousands of options. I put “Birmingham, Alabama” in the search bar and more than 3,500 options were offered up. 3,500 ways to give back and help others. Surely there is one that fits any momma’s schedule if you’re ready to volunteer.

Celebrate a volunteer

If time and resources just don’t permit volunteering, you could thank a volunteer you know during National Volunteer Week, April 21 to 27. President Richard Nixon issued a proclamation in 1974 to set aside this week to thank all the thousands of volunteers right in our own neighborhoods who keep organizations running. Or you can nominate a very special volunteer for a Point of Light Award to recognize their outstanding contributions.

On April 14, you can celebrate Good Deeds Day. Started in 2007 by philanthropist Shari Arison, the first Good Deeds Day kicked off with 7,000 volunteers in Israel – in 2023, more than 4.3 million volunteers participated in 21,000 projects in 100 countries. Good Deeds Day seeks to unite people from around the world for one day dedicated to #DoingGood. Gathering together for one day inspires a whole world of good.

Find me with the kids

Currently, you’ll find me teaching Club 45 on Sunday mornings for fourth and fifth-grade students at my church. As I mentioned, I love what these children tell me about the world and how they see it. I also love being an adult voice who is not a parent. Maybe I can impart something wise that they wouldn’t hear from their moms. You’ll also find me periodically representing my sorority, Alpha Omicron Pi, as a ritual education ambassador. Again I love what I learn from these young women as I try to offer ways that our sorority’s values can grow with them beyond college.

I know that being a volunteer provides a meaningful and invaluable service to any organization you choose, and I also know that being a volunteer benefits me. Being a volunteer gives me an opportunity to give back to organizations that mean a lot to me. It gives me a way to put my concerns for certain causes into action. It helps me stay engaged with organizations and causes that feed my desire to be useful in this world. I view the world with more positivity when I am helping my world in some small way.

Where will you find yourself as a volunteer? I hope it is helping a cause you believe in or an organization that you love or discovering a new need that you are perfect to fill. I promise you’ll feel good about volunteering.

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Chris L
Born in Wisconsin, Chris moved South with her family, first to Richmond, Virginia, and then to Birmingham when she was 12. She loves being a girl raised in the South, and her only remaining Midwestern traits are a love for the Packers and a fondness for bratwurst. In 2010, Chris reconnected with Christopher, a former Birmingham-Southern College classmate, after a random meeting in the cereal aisle at Publix. They married in 2011, not realizing that they were bringing together a perfect storm of teenage angst with their three children. Today, Chris is the center support that keeps the seesaw of her family balanced, leading a blended family of three young adults and enjoying an empty nest. Before the pandemic, most days were busy managing client relationships for a corporate event production company, but after six months of unemployment, she has become the parish administrator aka “the church lady” for her church. When she's not working, she loves reading a rich historical novel, volunteering with her sorority, and planning their next wine-tasting excursions.


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