VOCAL-izing what it means to give…
“We need more kindness, more compassion, more joy, more laughter. I definitely want to contribute to that.” - Ellen DeGeneres
Volunteering time and energy to some cause without being “made” to is a life changing experience that many overlook or ignore. It is truly wonderful to give to others just because you can. I have learned that some people do not give back because they feel that it requires money. This is not the case at all. I have learned that it takes no money and at times it takes no effort. Presence is sometimes all that is needed. In my experience the gift of giving your self is the most reward gift that can ever be received. For that reason I find myself giving to as many animals, humans, strangers, friends, or organizations that I can.
In the moment that you see the transformation in an animals face (or human) that was once afraid that now knows it safe your world is forever changed. There are no words to describe what it feels like to know you changed a life, that you saved a life. That is kind of a HUGE deal!! I have spent time working with VOCAL doing just this. I have donated time (even though I just see it as going to see my friends some two legged and some four) and had wonderful experiences. I love going to adoption events, or being at their facility doing maintenance projects, as well as spending time socializing animals. VOCAL has shifted gears from unchaining dogs and providing fencing to having an onsite animal rescue and foster facility to now attempting to have new laws put into place.
With VOCAL taking on the ambitious task of hopefully having a law instated that would prohibit the chaining of dogs in Leon County and then potentially state wide they are extremely busy. This organization is very important to me and I plan on being available to help with this task in any way that I can. They are a small organization and I know all of the members personally, they know that they can call on me in any way that they need and I will be there. During my time spent with VOCAL this semester I have learned from them in ways I never thought possible.
Over the last few months while spending time with VOCAL and knowing that I would completing assignments of my experiences I have had a different perspective. I have taken more time to analyze why I was really there, and why I was doing what I was doing. And it dawned on me, because it brings me joy to help someone that cannot help themselves. It puts a smile on my face to be there for someone who needs help completing a task. My experience and new perspective helped me to see that even in a History class someone needs help. They may have lost their pen, or need a study partner. To give the gift of a pen or partner is so much more, it’s allowing them to continue their education and achieve their goal. There is really so much more to giving to others.
Others may not see it the same way I do, I think that most people tend not to read between the lines. It is sad to me that so many people are unable to give back to their communities and realize how much they really gain. It also seems that the community gets caught up in political issues all too frequently. I understand that these issues have detrimental effects on individuals. But if only some could take the time to focus on smaller issues that have immediate resolutions to break up the monotony. I think everyone could benefit from that. But I know others understand my perspective because those are the kind of people that I work with while spending time with VOCAL.
The experiences I have shared with the members of VOCAL and the animals they have there are life changing and wonderful I have gained amazing friends. I have even gained three wonderful dogs since I was introduced to VOCAL. But what is even more interesting is that over the last few months while donating my time, I have learned from it in ways I never thought possible having the educational aspect in the back of my mind allowed me to have a different perspective... I am so grateful for every part of the experience and look forward to what the future will hold.