Canada is celebrating National Volunteer Week from April 6-12 and Anchel Krishna discusses why volunteering is important for her family.
By Anchel Krishna @anchelk
Volunteers currently make up a really important proportion of my life. At work we have a number of amazing volunteers – many of them parents of children with special needs – who are so important to the work we do. I’m fortunate enough to get to work with many of these great people on a regular basis and it always adds another perspective and dimension to my work, which I really grateful for.
I’ve written before about a charity that helps fund programs for children with special needs in India. Recently, a number of us have been working with my mother-in-law to figure out how we will sustain this charity (that currently is completely run by the volunteer efforts of my mother-in-law). The folks who have been helping are incredible – willing to combine their considerable talents, skills and experience for the greater good.
I’ve been a volunteer by nature for a long time – I remember volunteering at a food bank when I was younger, and after graduating university I spent some time volunteering as a mentor for at-risk young girls. In the last few years I my volunteering focus has been with Handicare, and even that has been somewhat limited due to life’s other pressures.
But the truth is that finding a way to give back helps me as much as it helps any organization. It helps me remember perspective, it provides me with an outlet to do some good and, most importantly, it helps me teach my daughter how important it is to spread good throughout the world.
I know Syona will face extra challenges because of her cerebral palsy. But I also think her unique experience will bring her a considerable amount of perspective and unique skills. And knowing her tenacity she will find a way to use her skills to further the greater good.
Culturally we were always taught to give back. During each puja we put aside money to donate to children in need. And the importance of doing good in the world was an underlying value that was always understood in our household. I know that this is one part of our culture that we need to keep alive. For those of us who are fortunate enough to live comfortably it is easy to get caught up in what our lives are lacking. But the truth is that we have so much and giving back is a way to show gratitude for everything we’ve worked for, and our parents worked for.
We’ve also been on the receiving end of some amazing volunteer efforts. Syona does therapeutic horseback riding once a week. As you can imagine it takes a few extra sets of hands to keep a pipsqueak 3 ½ year-old who can’t sit independently on a horse. These wonderful folks work week after week so that Syona can get stronger.
As Syona grows up I think we’ll look for opportunities to volunteer together and make it some sort of family affair. I know I’ll have to ensure they are opportunities she can actively participate in but it is a great way for her to give back and recognize her own strengths. What parent wouldn’t want that for their kids?
Do you or your kids volunteer? How do you get them involved in giving back?
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