Dayton Kingery discusses how his volunteering experiences inspire him
There are many different avenues to volunteering. People choose to volunteer their time, money, expertise or all three. They then make the choice between different sectors within the volunteering sphere such as: kids, the elderly, the disabled, the underprivileged etc. Traditionally, the volunteer journey begins by figuring out personal strengths, what is inspiring to the individual and then matching up the two with one of the many available opportunities that exist.
For me, since I have been privileged to have had a good education, I felt it was fitting to give back in that area. I know that there are many, many others who have not had the same opportunities. But it is so important. It really is the key to opening so many doors. As Benjamin Franklin said: “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”
The question is, how does one go about getting this all-powerful education without the financial resources? What is one supposed to do – especially these days with the coronavirus restrictions severely impinging on regular schooling – to ensure that you or your child does not miss out on crucial academic years? You figure out an alternative route through an organization that has experience in the field.
I have been volunteering with Inspirica for some time now. The reason I chose this organization is because it seeks to get to the root of a much bigger problem via volunteering. Breaking the cycle of homelessness, Inspirica purports, begins with education. Offering both residential and support services, people with different needs in the Connecticut area are welcome to approach Inspirica for assistance when needed.
Look at the Bigger Picture
When it comes to housing, Inspirica seeks to provide: emergency shelter, rapid rehousing, truly affordable housing, permanent supportive housing and transitional housing. The support services include: vocational training, education, jumpstart employment services, children’s services and early childhood & parenting relief. Part of the mission statement of the organization is that they “address not just the physical component of homelessness (residential), but all the reasons a person becomes homeless (support services). [Their] ability to deliver comprehensive integrated services is a key element of [their] success.” But the real solution is to have the money to pay for this which requires a good salary which begins with, you guessed it, a good education.
Give Back and Get Back
Today, around 2,000 people are volunteering with Inspirica. What’s amazing – in my experience – is that the volunteers get back so much more when they give in this way. Helping people get out of the rut of homelessness and jobless is an amazing feeling. Inspirica offers a whole slew of ways to do this.
Personally I got a lot out of the mentorship program. Inspirica’s Youth Center has provided so much enrichment for kids after school. Rather than just go straight home and watch TV or play video games, this is a way of encouraging the kids to read quietly, get help with homework or engage in some enrichment activity the center offers. Obviously with COVID-19 this has taken a backseat but there are online versions that have been beneficial as well and all of them help to provide stability and positivity in the lives of children who otherwise would not have this. When a parent is struggling financially, it rubs off on the kids who require a positive distraction such that can be found within the structure of Inspirica.
Get Out There
If you do make the decision to volunteer, find an avenue that will inspire you. Find a cause that is close to your heart. And find a subject that interests you; this will help you make a difference. Going through an organization really helps with all of that. But above all, just make a start by just simply well, starting!…in my experience you won’t be sorry.