Larger Than One’s Self
Sometimes it is good to be part of something larger than one’s self. It can give a feeling of purpose, a feeling of being part of making a difference.
Any time you help someone else–you show kindness to someone else–you are being part of something larger than yourself. It can give you that feeling of making a difference. The 3rd verse of the song “Rita” gives a musical description of exactly that. It is a very good feeling indeed.
Volunteering in an organization of community or faith gives you an opportunity to help people who need it and to meet people who share your interests. The Will Power page gives a link to read the story of a teen rare disease advocate, written in her own words. The page also introduces you to Will, a pre-teen who, like you, is trying to live his best life.
Will has had experience with volunteer teens in activities that he loves–sports, lots of sports! In his city, an organization called the Miracle League provides an opportunity for handicapped youth to take part in a wide variety of sports. Will has tried many of them including softball, soccer, and bowling. The way it is set up, each participant is paired with a “buddy” who helps the participant “play” the sport. The buddy is a teen or adult who is willing to make the commitment to be with the youth throughout that particular sports “season.”
When Will first started taking part in the Miracle League sports activities, his buddy was a sophomore in high school who was volunteering in this program for the first time. Their first sport together was softball. When it was his turn to bat, Will would hit the ball and his buddy would push his wheelchair to run him around the bases (on a smooth, paved surface made for wheelchairs.) Will loved it! And he loved his buddy–who decided to continue pairing with Will for other sports during the course of that summer. He (Will’s buddy) continued pairing with Will until he graduated from high school. Will has wonderful memories of him. He made a difference in Will’s life.
At the same time, another buddy was assigned to Will. That way, if one buddy couldn’t make it on a certain date, the other one would be there. She was in college at the time. She is now a special education teacher and continues to pair with Will in his sports activities. Will loves her, too, as she continues to make a difference in his life.
These experiences–these participant-buddy relationships–can turn into friendships. Both of Will’s did. Whether that happens or not, the experience enriches the life of the participant–and the buddy.
In your own city or community of faith, there are opportunities to volunteer in tons of different ways doing whatever it is that you might want to try. Ask around or look up “Volunteer Opportunities in (your city)” online. If the Miracle League sparks your interest, look that up. It has chapters in quite a few cities, although not all of them include multiple sports.
You have the power within you to make a difference and to make your own life feel more “full.” All you have to do is reach out.
©JoAnne Kollross Woleben