Volunteering is my passion and something that everyone can do. Just imagine what we could accomplish if we all gave just a little time. WOW! How exciting it would be.
I’ve been volunteering for a number of years. From helping with disaster relief efforts in Africa and New Orleans, to building homes with the local Habitat for Humanity chapter, to serving weekly meals at the Snohomish Community Food Bank. It’s about finding causes that match your charitable interests.
Once you identify the organization or program you want to support, contact the charity to assess their volunteer needs and determine if your skills match those needs. It’s exciting to see that one person can really make a difference, and it’s as easy as 1-2-3: find a cause, decide what you can offer, and make a commitment.
Volunteering is so embedded in my everyday routine that I never wanted any glory or recognition. However, my mindset changed after my Sodexo supervisor nominated me for a Hero of Everyday Life award. At first, I felt overwhelmed like it was going against why I volunteer in the first place. Then, my friends and family helped me realize that this honor will allow me give back even more to my community. As a 2013 Hero of Everyday Life, Sodexo Foundation presented me with a $5,000 grant for the Snohomish Community Food Bank to support their Kids Café program. It was from this experience that I gained a new perspective on the opportunities tied to getting noticed. Now, I’m excited to make others aware of this recognition and how easy it is to give back and help your community!
I will never forget the trip to Washington D.C. for the award ceremony at the Sodexo Foundation Dinner. It was very exciting and way beyond my expectations, and I even took my daughters, which made the trip extra special. Meeting all the award winners and hearing their stories was so inspiring and unforgettable.
I want to encourage others to take those first few steps and try volunteering. It’s easy, fun and so rewarding to see someone smile because you were there for them in their time of need. But beware! One time will likely turn into two, and then three and one day you will become an everyday hero just like me!
If you know a Sodexo employee who is deserving of a Hero of Everyday Life award, submit a nomination on their behalf at www.SodexoFoundation.org. The 2014 nomination period is open through March 7.
Paula Bailly is proud to be a 2013 Hero of Everyday Life and Kitchen Manager at Snohomish School District in Snohomish, WA. If you know a Sodexo employee who is actively involved in ongoing community service to address hunger, fill out an online nomination for a Hero award.