By Jordan Hannan
Yes: Undoubtedly. Easily. Immediately.
We are surrounded by innumerable, seemingly insignificant chances to create a better world. Unfortunately, these situations are usually overlooked or blatantly ignored. If we collectively decided to consistently hold the door for the person behind us, skip on disposable plastics, and warmly greet strangers, we would all feel more supported, appreciated, and a little less of the effects of global warming. But how can we volunteer our time, talent, and treasure in the same manner?
As I have mentioned previously, you don’t necessarily need to free up more time in order to volunteer, and the same goes for donating: no matter your financial standing, there are opportunities for your treasure to benefit the lives of others, and it will only change 1% of your routine:
Visit Triangle Cares next week to discover why it is so important to implement service among schools.
By Jordan Hannan
Brooke does absolutely everything but sleep. She’s a two-sport athlete, enrolled in one of the most rigorous course loads possible, works two jobs, and is the most incredible friend to everyone around her. Not only that, but she was also the first of my friends to inquire about how she could volunteer through Triangle Cares when I first joined the team. Even when her schedule doesn’t allow for rest, Brooke continues to prioritize having a positive impact on others. She’s able to accomplish everything she needs to, as well as everything that the average person makes excuses to get out of. How can this be possible for the rest of us?
Despite its simplicity, the common idea of donating your time, talent, and treasure can be quite difficult to put into practice, particularly due to the rarity of free time. Everybody deems their lives to be busy, indicated by the growing market for productivity apps and time-saving home-automation accessories. If we have convinced ourselves that we’re too preoccupied to even queue up a playlist without Alexa, it must seem even more inconceivable to dedicate hours at a time to cleaning up trash at your local park or serving at the nearest soup kitchen. However, incorporating service into your weekly schedule doesn’t have to be a great disruption or huge commitment:
If you’re in need of some new nonprofits to donate your time to, check out our website here!
By Jordan Hannan
It seems that there’d be absolutely no way that a middle schooler could raise four thousand dollars from a charity bake sale in an elementary school cafeteria, but I did. For four consecutive years.
My limited skill set would never allow for even the formation of this service project. However, when combined with that of my peers, family, and school community, we were able to donate a total of $16,000 to the Marfan Foundation. My grandmother’s and teachers’ baking, parents’ organization, and peers’ support were equally integral in ensuring the success of the project, though I doubt our eager patrons ever realized just how many uniquely talented people had helped in its creation.
While it’s obvious that any business would need website developers, accountants, leaders, handymen, or marketers, we tend to disregard that a nonprofit might need to fill those roles also. There is far more to any organization than the food drives and charity events that one-time volunteers attend. Without the donation of your skills, nonprofits would never be able run successfully, eliminating all potential for service opportunities or positive change.
The concept of volunteering tends to get put into a box--as if the only way you can contribute to your community is by donating a bag full of canned green beans once a year. Instead, nonprofits are the culmination of innumerable volunteers’ talents. If you are looking to provide long-term support for your favorite charity, here are some ways you can get started:
Take a look at your career. Your résumé is filled with skills that can be easily applied to serve others, whether you are a teen with a part-time summer job or a parent with a twenty-year history with your corporation. My mom provides a great example: She’s an accountant, making her extremely organized and comfortable with numbers, so she volunteers as the head of the finance committee at our parish. Similarly, if you tutor younger kids, you would be a wonderful addition to the Gigi's Playhouse team. If you wait tables, A Place at the Table would love to have you.
Reconfigure your hobbies. While there are plenty of service opportunities that align exactly with your interests (check out our blog regarding this here), don’t limit yourself to just those. A friend of my parents, Jon, exemplified this perfectly by channeling his knack for construction into creating a book cart for our local NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit). If you love to draw, find a nonprofit in need of new digital advertisements. Try leading a charity 5k if you’re a talented runner or great host. Focus on why you excel in your extracurriculars rather than activities themselves.
The balance between school, work, service, athletics, and social activities may seem overwhelming or nearly impossible; allow Triangle Cares to help you find time to serve in next week's blog.
By Jordan Hannan
While it is entirely preferable to find your passion without the intervention of a life-changing event, I was not so lucky. June 15th, 2020 left me bedridden with the worst pain I have ever endured, finding sleep nearly impossible during the nights but unavoidable during the day, horizontal and bored out of my mind for 23 hours every day for weeks on end. What left a 14-year-old girl with a dozen “get well soon” blankets and stacks of sweets that only her family could enjoy: a complete spinal fusion, gifting me with two metal rods, four wires, and twenty-two screws in place of one fully-functioning spine.
My experience was undoubtedly horrendous, but there were several positives: my impressively short four-day stay at Duke University Hospital, the life-altering discovery of Sour Patch Kid Watermelons, and eating what I thought were the most delicious meals this planet could offer. (According to my mother, the grayish hospital oatmeal and rice was not the delicacy I thought it to be.) Among these highlights, however, was finding what makes me happiest: spending time with others.
I’ve always been a social person, but I’d never realized just how much I needed to be surrounded by others until that was almost entirely taken away from me. Despite the difficulty I had even holding up my phone, FaceTiming my sister from my hospital bed was the first time I remember smiling after my 9-hour surgery. Later, the Fourth of July finally allowed me to see my four grandparents for the first time, and I’d never been happier, even though my overexcitement left me in an immense amount of pain. I knew that nothing in this world could provide the same sheer contentment of being with other people.
However, finding something you enjoy is not the same as finding your passion. I clearly love talking to others, but that alone is entirely too shallow to consider it the most valuable part of my life. The same goes for any hobby you might have--sports, music, cooking, or painting. You can, however, find depth by using your hobby to give back to others. While you may have several hobbies that you enjoy, your sole passion, the element of your life that you feel like you could never live without, must not only better your life, but also the lives of those around you.
For me, this takes place in many ways, but all have taught me to better appreciate my love for meeting new people and spending time with those I already know. At Cardinal Gibbons High School, I lead tours for prospective students and families. Similarly, I volunteer as a counselor for underclassmen retreats and as a greeter at my church. My parents have also turned their passions into service--my father combined his love for golf with my mother’s affection for our family, creating the Kaitlyn and Jordan Classic, a charity golf tournament made to give back to Duke Children’s, the hospital that saved the lives of both my sister and me. This deepened connection between the cause and the volunteer greatly increases the impact of their service, allowing the discovery of your passion to incite positive change.
The Triangle Cares website contains the contact information for all sorts of nonprofits that can be aligned with your passion, strengthening its influence on your life and the lives of others. However, if you are still unsure how you can share your talent to serve others, allow us to help you next week.
Jordan Hannan and Jordan Lappin