The Lyre, Summer 2009 / The Rewards of Involvement
by Diane Wilson Blackwelder, National Vice President
(Omicron, Baker University)
All is not well in our country, according to the headlines and news reports. Millions of Americans are profoundly unhappy with their lives. Many are isolated, unconnected, adrift… lost. Family ties are tenuous. Divorce, disease and debt race like plagues through our cities and communities. Tension, aggression and the scramble to survive are taking a terrible toll.
Our problems are many, and we often feel increasingly helpless as our control slips and stress mounts. Economic hardship and declining income make unwelcome guests of anxiety and apprehension in many homes that once seemed secure. If you listen carefully, you can hear the urgency in their voices when they describe what they want: happiness, contentment, peace of mind . . . Above all, they want some sense of control over this increasingly bewildering world. They need a purpose to live for and the resources to pursue their purpose.
Let’s switch pronouns from “they” to “me,” “you” and “us.” If you and I want more out of life and are willing to take some steps, we can have a richer, fuller, happier existence. We have everything to gain and nothing to lose from a life of giving—answering the call to volunteer. The need is out there.
When I started being involved in community organizations and Alpha Chi Omega in the 70’s, I thought I was doing it because I was supposed to. I didn’t know what to expect out of it, but in time a light went on. I realized how fortunate and how great I have been treated during my life. I was healthy, eager to help and curious to seek involvement with a few activities in a major way. In doing so, I learned what is at the heart of service organizations and the value of membership in Alpha Chi Omega. That was when I realized how much I was getting in return and how much good my efforts and time were doing.
I invite each of you to get involved. Starting with your Alpha Chi Omega sisters, a collegiate or alumnae chapter, a philanthropic event; match your talents to the opportunity! You, personally, can make a difference. Whether you give money or your time, it all helps. There are more than 800,000 nonprofit organizations in America, so finding one that you like isn’t a difficult task. Of course, Alpha Chi Omega is my top choice for volunteering.
Let’s look at some reasons people choose not to get involved. They are:
- “I don’t have any special talents.”
- “I’m shy and have trouble meeting people.”
- “I’m a person with only limited resources.”
- “There’s no particular cause that interests me.”
- “My charity begins at home.”
These reasons can be overcome, but remember to pace yourself. Don’t overdo it!
- Don’t overextend yourself.
- Don’t overpromise.
- Don’t try to do it all alone.
- Don’t overreact.
- Do find time to enjoy your work.
The benefits of getting involved, particularly in Alpha Chi Omega, are numerous:
- You will have fun and be rewarded.
- You will meet new people.
- You will meet many old friends in a new light.
- It opens doors for jobs and business relations and much more.
If you do get involved you will find there are three kinds of people:
- Those who make things happen,
- Those who watch things happen,
- Those who wonder how things happened.
Try to be the kind of volunteer who makes things happen! Share what you have with others. As Real Strong Women we need to invest in each other. When we give to others – when we share our time, talent and money – we do not end up with less, but more. Alpha Chi Omega values her volunteers and offers gratitude to those who are taking our sisterhood to new heights.