Adventures in Volunteering- PAWS


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Originally posted on WRITE OUTSIDE:
I’m almost half way through my adventures in volunteering. It came as no surprise that my experiences have been both rewarding and fun. What did surprise me was the difficulty I encountered getting scheduled at…

2 Simple Tips When You are Feeling a Down Turn

I have been struggling with inspiration lately.  I am not eliminating the possibility that it comes at the same time that I have been experiencing a slight down turn in my health and mentality.  I have this “dips” occasionally as I ride the MS roller coaster.

I have only had this happen one other time back in February.  Instead of fight against it and force things, I have decided to take the Taoist approach and let the river waters wash me down stream and see what happens.  Too many times in life we fight, kick and scream as life drags us in the direction that life is headed.

images (1)I have been concerned lately with the pain in my hips.  A few years ago my neurologist put me on an aggressive round of solumedrol.  It followed an aggressive dose 6 months prior.  If you know anything about this evil steroid you know that too much of it can result in restricted blood flow to the hips, leaving the recipient in need of hip replacement surgery.

I wouldn’t be so concerned except the pain is waking me up at night.  I remember my shoulder doing the same thing and was remedied by surgery in 2009.  I don’t want to have surgery as it will cut it to our charity work and that is very important to me.

Through this ordeal I am seeing how important it is to give.  I cannot encourage you more to get outside of your corner of the world and find a way to give your time to change lives.

Sometimes it feels as though I am talking to no one and nobody is listening.  The only way we are going to change this world is by helping others.  The only way you are going to find fulfillment is through becoming a servant.  Humble yourself.

I have a friend of mine Katherine that I met through blogging.  We email back and forth a couple of times each month and it is nice to read of her progress as she lives her life cancer free!!  (hello Katherine!!).  She has helped me become a better blogger and gain better perspective as I learn and find my voice.  She reminded me this week of the importance of personal growth.

As we get older we become set in patterns.  We do the same things and rarely take on new experiences.  This limits our joy.  If you are experiencing and down turn in life I encourage you to do 2 things

  1. Take on a new activity.  It could be as simple as going to the park 3 times each week to walk.  Or it could be taking on a new hobby.  Whatever it is force yourself into a new life experience.
  2. Find an organization to go donate your time.  Working with people less fortunate will open your eyes, I promise.

In the end, life is about you leaving a mark.   What legacy will you leave behind?  What example are you setting for your family, kids, friends?

Just a thought for a Monday morning…

6 Random Thoughts From My Noggin

image credit:

image credit:

I was uninspired yesterday so I thought I would free associate a few random thoughts I have had lately:

  1. Evelina and I will be attending the MS Bike event in Myrtle Beach for my birthday and I am very excited to attend.  I love the beach in the fall.  The breezes feel cleaner, the beaches are less crowded and the cool air seems to cleanse my soul.
  2. I misunderstood the number of people that will be attending the support group meeting I will be speaking at in November.  The funny thing is I am more anxious about speaking to 20 people than I ever would speaking to hundreds!  Why is that?!
  3. I am hosting the Meet and Greet this weekend beginning Friday morning so be sure to join early to get your blog page at the top of the list!  The last few have produced hundreds of connections!
  4. Halloween is approaching which means giant bags of candy for ridiculously low prices!!
  5. The wife and I, along with our good friends Steven and Wendy, will be attending the Finish the Wall volunteer event this Saturday.  They are finishing up a halfway house for recently released inmates and reformed homeless men.  It is such a great charity and we are excited to help them complete this project.
  6. And last but not least, this weekend brings a tradition is Charlotte, The Festival in the Park.  Since I was a kid I have attended this event.  We look forward to it all year as they have art vendors, crafts, music, food vendors, all surrounding the lake at Freedom Park here in Charlotte.  It is so awesome and we go as a family.  My parents, sister, brother-in-law, nephews and niece, Evelina and myself will all meet and have a great night.  Funnel cakes, carmel apples, footlong corndogs, fresh lemonade….oh my goodness my mouth is watering!!  It is a tradition like no other!

That is what’s going on in my head!  I hope everyone has a great Thursday!

Richard Branson on the Value of Volunteering

credit: venis ivy

credit: venis ivy

I would consider Richard Branson to be an innovator in business and philanthropy.  I have written about how Branson started Virgin Airlines and was drawn to this article as soon as I saw the title.

Great Grandmother Drives Across Her County To Help Feed 200 Children – Daily!

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” Some people complain, some people talk and some people do. This is a story of a doer.

Kindness Blog

Millions of children around the world grow hungrier every day. And the United States is no different.

According to the Department of Agriculture (USDA), 15.8 million children under the age of 18 live in households across the 50 states where they are unable to consistently access enough nutritious food necessary for a healthy life.

So when we discovered a great grandmother from Washington state who is trying to lower those numbers, we just had to share her story.

Great Grandmother Drives Across Her County To Help Feed 200 Children - Daily!

Phyllis Shaughnessy lives in the Gray’s Harbor school district, which is a run-down town with low income families and no available work nearby for the people who desperately need it. And the children are the ones who end up suffering the most.

During the school year, the township’s children are fed through the school’s lunch program. But when summer arrives, that lunch aid comes to a grinding halt.

So when Shaughnessy learned…

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Volunteer Spotlight: Lauren Loffredo

Volunteering is such a wonderful way to give back!

The danceability Difference

lauren 1 Lauren (right) with dancer Erica

We can’t do what we do without our volunteers. They are the true heart of our organization and they do amazing things with our dancers. We will be featuring one volunteer each month on our blog so you can get an inside look at what inspired them to join the danceability team and why they keep coming back!

Check out our first volunteer spotlight of the year: Lauren Loffredo
She has been a volunteer for a few years now and loves working with Nicole & Erica!

Why did you decide to volunteer at danceability?
A friend of mine was a volunteer at danceability and invited me to the recital.  She knew that I had grown up dancing myself and thought that I would really enjoy getting to see all of the dancers.  Every second of the show was filled with an overwhelming feeling of…

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Give a Little Time

Get out of your corner of the world and help change another’s world. Seemingly small acts can change the life of someone in need!

Pale and Pink

I had the opportunity to go volunteer at St. Mary’s Food Bank with the Midwestern University Medical School class of 2018’s Psychiatry Club. I love being able to give back and what a cool group to do it with!







Giving back is such an important piece to life and personal fulfillment. I have been fortunate to have met some incredible people and so many times they have been willing to help me and Caleb, support us, cheer us on and pick us up or lend a listening ear when we have struggled. I feel very blessed by the people who I have been fortunate enough to cross paths with. Sometimes people don’t think they can give back because they don’t have enough money or connections to make a big dent in causes, but the reality is that time is the most precious thing that you can give.

We don’t have to be Mark…

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The Dream Big Volunteer Project

I am working on a brand new addition to the Dream Big community called The Dream Big Volunteer Project. I am compiling an easy resource guide for people in all cities to get connected with lesser known charities.  My recent work with the Hoskins Park Ministry has opened my eyes to a need that is going unfilled: connecting volunteers with charities that don’t have million dollar budgets.

My goal is to have multiple charities listed for every major city in the U.S.  So, if you know of a small charity in your city please email me and give me their contact information.  I would like to develop a vast network of charities from city to city!

As we have progressed technologically I believe humanity has taken a giant leap backward as it relates to volunteering and being philanthropic.  My hopes are to help connect charities with people that want to help, but aren’t sure where to start.

It is time for all of us to jump in and help.  Stop waiting on someone else to do the work that you should be doing yourself.  We have an obligation as human beings to help others and god knows there are plenty of people in need.  It is time to get out of your world and stare people in the eyes and tell them through your actions that you care.

Do not delay any longer.

You Can Change the Life of a Child

IMG_7131Have you ever considered becoming a mentor?  Many kids grow up without someone to show them simple etiquette, love or mentor-ship.  If you really want to jump in the deep end of the pool try the BBBS organization.  Even if you cannot or will not help, the website provides great information about their work.

10 Great Places to Donate Your Time

IMG_7127I will keep “preaching” the good news of volunteering until the day I take my last breathe.  I hope one person takes up the challenge and goes out into this world and makes a difference in another’s life.  If so, every second of work was worth doing.  You can change someone’s world if you try: