Random Acts of Kindness
Category : Blog
August 13, 2015
By Earline Marshall, Jericho Road Dallas volunteer
I remember being at the gas station with my dad and a man was looking everywhere for something. My dad went inside, paid for our gas and when he came out he asked the man what was wrong. The man said he barely made it to the gas station and realized he had no money so he could not pay. My dad reached in his wallet and gave the man $20. I still remember the smile on the man’s face and how he took my father’s hand and shook it like my dad had given him a fortune. When my dad got back in the car I told him the man was crazy, “You only gave him $20 and he acted like you had given him $1,000.” My dad said, “It was not about the amount of money, it was that I cared.”
Isn’t that what a volunteer does – care by providing acts of kindness? I use to think you needed tons of time and you had to be financially secure to volunteer. It had to be so structured and rigid, but in reality a volunteer is someone who does an act of kindness with no expectation in return. The truth is you don’t need a lot of time or money to volunteer. People need help every day.
Anyone who has been out-of-work knows that looking for a job is a full-time job. I had been laid-off for a few months and was getting a bit depressed. I kept applying for jobs and getting no response – not even a “thank you I received your resume.”
A good friend told me it was time to do something for others and suggested I check out VolunteerMatch.com. I found a few non-profit organizations that needed someone to provide grant research and writing assistance. I remember my first assignment and the joy I felt from really doing something that wasn’t about finding a job. I was writing – which I love to do and it wasn’t about money. It was about helping an organization I believed in, and about restoring my self-worth while I continued searching for employment.
That led me to thinking about what else I could do and decided to take a dream off the shelf and give it go – I started my own business. It’s in its infancy stage but I am moving forward and very excited. I love writing and volunteering has led me to have a passion for children, education and poverty issues. I already had a background in non-profits and healthcare but by volunteering I realized what my true passion was and that I needed to give myself a chance and go after my dream.
I spend less than 10 hours a week on my volunteer activities and I love every minute of it. I know I have benefited many organizations but I have also received many benefits. I received what money could not buy, self-confidence about my skills and abilities, met people who have shared their goals, visions and business advice, and the joy of knowing that something I love doing is helping (in some small way) an organization that is providing services to people who need them – be it food, shelter, healthcare or books for schools.
Whatever you can do, whenever you can do it – provide an act of kindness. Be a volunteer – you will reap more benefits than you know and provide so much for so many who need it the most.