(Tho I will say that I use it like clockwork around the same time every month….if you know what I mean.)
I didn’t realize what a big part of my life volunteerism is until sitting down to write this post! I didn’t have a plan of what I was going to write about…and when I started to think of how to start this post, my mind for some reason went to disasters. Fun, right? I don’t even know why…I’m not PMSing or anything….But bear with me.
I for some reason thought of 9/11. One of the worst dates in US history. I thought of my dad, ex-NYPD detective, out there volunteering his time and energy to help find survivors (and non survivors) in the wreckage. I thought of the people who supported his, and his fellow first responder (and second, third and fourth responder) efforts by volunteering their food, bottled water, steel toe boots, face masks, medical equipment to keep them safe while they did their good (read: and hard, and painful) work.
I then thought about Sandy. That witch of a Superstorm that beat the east coast up last Fall. I thought about all the people who were helped by a few groups I’m a part of. It seemed that almost all of the meet up groups I’m involved with had several food, clothing, baby product and even breast milk drives to help out the families that had lost so much.
Then I figured that would be too much of a downer so I tried to think of happier volunteering circumstances. The first thing that came to mind was John who volunteers his big old self to help people move all the time, and volunteers his computer skills to any and everyone who needs it.
Then it hit me: I volunteer!
I went to Guatemala in January 2010 so I could learn Spanish and volunteered teach English in a school. What I didn’t know until I arrived in Antigua was that schools are out in January! So instead of doing the tourist thing and nothing else, another traveler, Cate and I set up shop as a faux English class in the park every day after our Spanish classes. We had a lil informal group of both adults and kids there and we’d work on basics for some people, reading for others, and answer basic questions, or do conversational teaching help for others. It was awesome! I’ll never forget my time there, or my teachers…even though I’ve already forgotten how to speak in the preterito en Espanol.
I left Antigua and went to a different part of the country, near Lake Atitlan. I went to another Spanish school in that area that was very….rustic. Very little of the money we paid to attend, and live with the host family went to those costs. The mission of the school was to use the funds to build homes and feed needy Mayan families. It’s like a mini version of Habitat For Humanity, which is one of the organizations that the Advil® Relief in Action initiative is supporting. We got to go see and clear an area where a house was going to be going up. We also worked to deliver the biggest bag of rice and biggest bag of beans I’d ever seen in my life to a family who needed it. It was awesome to be a part of it in even the tiniest way.
When I came back from that trip I really wanted to keep my helping spirit going, so I began mentoring with an organization here in NYC and am happy to say that my mentee was accepted to college (the first in her family) and will graduate in 2015. She kicks so much butt!
The Advil® Relief in Action campaign is honoring volunteers who actively give back and help others. They’re partnering with great organizations like Habitat for Humanity and Wounded Warrior Project® and giving a portion of participating bottles to those causes.
Follow @ReliefInAction on twitter and check out http://www.advil.com/reliefinaction to learn more about this awesome initiative. Are you an active volunteer? How do you give back? Show Advil® photos of how you don’t let pain stop you from helping others on Instagram and Twitter using #ReliefinAction