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Helping others led me to meet my husband (and other benefits of volunteering!)

This world would be a much better place if we all just pitched in. This post on volunteering and National Volunteer Month is sponsored by Reward Volunteers.

I’ve been volunteering for as long as I can remember. Giving time and energy to others is something that I’ve always felt worth my while. Over the years, I’ve been fortunate to help out with many different organizations. As a former nonprofit professional, I know how important volunteers are to a cause. They’re the ones who keep things moving when funds are short, or when time is limited.

While I don’t work in the nonprofit field anymore, my husband does. I love how passionate he and his colleagues at his organization, Aim High,are about the students that they serve. In fact, Aim High is probably the reason my husband and I are married now.

Years ago, he and I were attending the same out-of-school-time conference in Indiana. I was sitting in the lobby doing some work when he started a conversation with me. He was cute, but it was late and I was just about to head up to my room to go to sleep. When he mentioned the organization he worked for, I perked up. I had heard about Aim High! A presentation about their program at another event had inspired me months before. I was all ears from that point on (and for the rest of my life!).

About Aim High

It’s easy to be impressed withAim High. They’ve been running academic-based summer programs for middle school students in the San Francisco Bay and surrounding areas for the last 30 years. Alec Lee, the Executive Director, started the program while he was a teacher in San Francisco. He saw that summer slide, or students losing all of the knowledge they’d gained over the school year, was becoming an epidemic. He knew that reinforcement could help, and he also knew that it had to be fun.

In addition to a curriculum based in STEM and humanities, there are also field trips and special enrichment activities to engage the students and make them eager to come back. Their program is first class all the way! The Aim High teachers and site directors have incredible energy, and a number of them are former Aim High students themselves. In fact, my husband and several of his coworkers are former Aim High students as well! That alone tells you a lot about the organization, right?

Aim High’s commitment to nurture, prepare, and inspire has motivated me since that first introduction I had to the organization years ago. I’m fortunate to have been able to support the organization with donations, social sharing, and now, volunteering!

Every spring, the Aim High team is busy recruiting students and reviewing applications to place the kids at sites. My husband let me know that they could always use help entering paper applications into their database. Since I love spending time in their office, I was pumped to go in for a couple of hours and help out a bit.

April is National Volunteer Month

Did you know that April is National Volunteer Month? It’s a time to honor folks who give their time, as well as to encourage volunteerism. If you haven’t volunteered in awhile, or at all, why not give it a try this month? There are so many different ways to donate your energy. You can do data entry like I did, read to children, or help plant trees. It doesn’t matter what you like to do, there is an opportunity for you to give based on your interests.

Even if you don’t have a personal connection to a great organization like I do, I encourage you to find a place that could benefit from your amazingness. There’s a lot in it for you, too! 96% of volunteers report feeling a greater sense of purpose when they give back. So do it. Fulfill your life’s purpose!

Reward Volunteers makes keeping track of your volunteer hours easy!

Once you decide what you would like to do, check outReward Volunteers. You can do everything from finding opportunities to volunteer in your area, to tracking and submitting your volunteer hours. It’s super easy to use. You submit your volunteer hours within 7 days of completing, and it keeps track of everything for you. There’s even an option to share on Facebook (which helps encourage your followers to volunteer and gives the organization some publicity). It took me about 2 minutes to sign up and log my hours.

Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve.” Let April be the month that you aim high and give back!

Find out more about Reward Volunteers on their website.