I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first started volunteering–I was a candy striper for a local hospital, working in the recovery room while dressed in my iconic pink uniform. Some told me I would make new friends by volunteering. Others had told me that volunteering would make me feel more accomplished and would give me a better sense of community. It wasn’t until I volunteered myself did I really begin to understand how important the experience would be for my future.
Volunteering in a recovery room is not the most glamorous place to serve. There’s nothing more chilling than the sight of a young child coming out of surgery or the anxiety of family members who hover around the beds praying for good news.
As a volunteer, I was entrusted to work in a sensitive environment regardless of my age or background. I learned how to interact with many different types of people, growing conscious of the difficulties that many families face when visiting a hospital. Many soon would have to face massive medical bills. Others would have to support their sick family member for years to follow. These were details that are hard to imagine by outsiders.
Volunteering not only taught me sensitivity and empathy, but also gave me a sense of social consciousness that shaped my choices in the years to follow.
HOPE Corps volunteers have the same opportunity when they become involved in programs like Banking on Our Future and HOPE Corps. They have the opportunity to see their work in context and experience the life of financial management outside of the walls of a bank.
Certainly every HOPE Corps volunteer has a unique story to tell. Volunteering can break comfort zones, bring together new friendships, cultivate personal satisfaction, and even help develop a sense of community amongst any given individual.
But in each case, volunteering changes peoples’ lives, both on a personal and collective level. Volunteering doesn’t just change a person’s perspective – the experience forms new horizons that reshape visions of the world.
HOPE Corps volunteers aren’t candy stripers – they don’t deliver bad news about your health. They bring good news – helping people own homes, launch small businesses, and achieve dreams.
While any kind of volunteering will impact an individual, volunteering for Operation HOPE brings a special kind of experience. Volunteers see communities getting stronger. They help bring happiness and dignity to places where hope seems to be lost.
While Operation HOPE’s name suggests that clients gain a sense of HOPE, it’s easy to see how Operation HOPE cultivates an unimaginable level of hope amongst volunteers. Volunteers see communities rebuilt, see dignity restored, and feel a personal claim in that transformation.
By joining the HOPE Corps, you join a community whose fabric is made of optimism grounded in incredible talent and wisdom. Try and imagine a horizon like that in your own life. You have to be involved to imagine the details.