How Service Has Shaped My Life: 5 Things I Learned Through Volunteering

by / Wednesday, 17 May 2017 / Published in Community
Volunteering in Philadelphia

Lorina Marshall-Blake and other Blue Crew volunteers helped young ladies at the Cozen PAL Prom Boutique choose the perfect dress and accessories to wear to their big dance.

Through volunteering, I have been able to help so many nonprofit organizations that are doing so much good. If you believe in the mission of the organization and the work you are doing, everyone benefits. Every task, no matter how big or how small makes a difference!

Here are five things I learned through volunteering:

1. One person (and even one hour) can make a difference.

Spending just one hour serving lunch at a shelter or taking the time to have a conversation with a client at a senior center makes a true impact. With our busy schedules, it may be hard to find a lot of time, and that’s okay! One hour may not seem like a lot, but it may have an immeasurable impact on someone’s life.

2. Helping others helps you learn new skills.

Volunteering is an opportunity to go outside your comfort zone and try new things, something that has been incredibly helpful to me in my career path. Volunteering has strengthened my abilities as a leader and allowed me to grow my skill set in so many ways.

One great example of this is my volunteer board service. I volunteered to lead the Finance and Audit committees for a nonprofit organization, two areas with which I had limited experience. Stepping up to take on this role taught me so much about finance and audit, which has been essential to me as I progressed in my career.

3. We are stronger together than we are alone.

Through volunteering, I am humbly reminded of the importance of community and coming together to help each other through challenging times in life. We are stronger together than we are alone, and working together, we can help make our communities a better place for us all.

4. I get back more than I give.

Volunteering often connects you with people and families who are experiencing true hardships in their lives. By giving back and getting to know them, you are able to provide comfort to them during a difficult point in their lives.

I have gained new perspectives just from listening and having a conversation with someone I have met while volunteering. It reminds you to appreciate the truly important things in your life. For me, that’s family, friends, and faith. I find that I get back more than I give from these experiences.

5. Your passion can inspire others to serve.

Volunteerism and the spirit of community service is contagious! Once people experience the joy of serving others, they are motivated to continue to volunteer. I love nothing more than to inspire others to give back and reach forward.

Volunteering together is a great way to strengthen the bonds of family and friendship. If you share your genuine passion and enthusiasm for volunteering, people will be encouraged to follow your lead. It is incredibly rewarding to instill this passion in others.

We’re profiling members of the advisory board for our Independence Blue Cross (Independence) Corporate Volunteer Program — the Blue Crew. Blue Crew advisory board members lead individual projects, promote volunteerism, and evaluate and select the organizations, projects, and events our Blue Crew supports. Know an organization or a local event that could use enthusiastic volunteers? Contact the Blue Crew.

 

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Lorina Marshall-Blake is President of the Independence Blue Cross Foundation and Vice President, Community Affairs, Independence Blue Cross. Marshall-Blake helped define the IBC Foundation’s mission of leading solutions for healthier communities when it was launched in 2011. Under Marshall-Blake’s leadership, the $60 million IBC Foundation has established itself as a philanthropic force locally, earning the 2014 Corporate Foundation of the Year award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Greater Philadelphia Chapter. An expert in Philanthropy, Corporate Management, Public Relations and Communications, Marshall-Blake says, “We are meant to serve. We must reach back and give back.” She is an Honorary Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, and has been honored for her leadership and community service by numerous organizations such as the NAACP, Girl Scouts of Eastern PA, Philadelphia Tribune, League of Women Voters, Philadelphia Business Journal, Living Beyond Breast Cancer, and the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey. She also serves as a spokesperson for the local chapter of the American Heart Association.
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