Dear Future Volunteer,
A service year. Let’s start there. Take a deep breath and pat yourself on the back for choosing a different path. This may have been a very difficult discernment process. You may have overcome various obstacles and conflicting opportunities. Many may have told you to choose another option, something more fruitful with more monetary incentive. But you have chosen to give back to a community. You have chosen to be a proponent of change. You have chosen a concept that is foreign and counter-cultural in our time.
There are so many things I can tell you to expect during your service year. So many things that have or could have helped me along my way. I hope that the following resonate with you and aid you in your quest. This year may be the most beautiful start to the journey that is the rest of your life.
Breathe. Do it because you have to to survive but also take deep cleansing breaths in and out when the light seems a little too dim. The deep-rooted injustices you will witness first hand within your community can seem consuming and create much darkness- breathe. You have a power and light within you to be like the domino, to make one small change that will be the ripple in the tide of change that can impact your community. Breathe. You are enough. Breathe. You can do it. Breathe. You are goodness and light.
Laugh, dance, and sing. Preferably all at the same time. Allow yourself to know and experience true joy this year. Life is beautiful and grand and has so much to show and give you. Happiness is all around you ready to be seized in the moment. Plus, I think there’s science to living a longer and more quality life if you do the above. Three cheers for that.
Share. Share your thoughts, your hopes, your dreams, your food, your money, your dessert, your clothes, your music taste, your jokes, your advice, your time, your gifts, and your light. Barney always said sharing is caring. The only thing that matters this year is the building, growing, learning, and loving found in relationships. All the “things” in life don’t matter. Don’t let “things” get in the way of connecting truly to those around you.
Love. Love, mercy, and compassion brought you here to this place. Love your community. Love those that you serve. Love those you serve with. Love when it’s easy. Love when it is just too hard. Love yourself- you deserve the same love that you so readily, freely, and unconditionally give out to others.
Ready to get this party started?
Meg Lavelle: Baltimore