Why Volunteering Matters - Grace McLean
At our Mentor Recognition Breakfast on 5 December, we were honoured to have Grace McLean, CEO and founder of NFP Connect speak to us about volunteering and what it means to her.
The following words are taken from Grace’s presentation.
The definition of volunteering is “freely offering to do something.”
To give, to serve, is the foundation of every spiritual story. To me to give of yourself without need or want of something in return is a humbling experience for those that give and those that receive. It can unlock the hardest of hearts; it shows compassion where there has been none; it can humble the egos that are always correct; and it has the ability to break down injustice and intolerance.
It can be as little as switching off a light or picking up someone else’s rubbish. It could be feeding or caring for an animal without a home. It can be buying coffee for a stranger or being aware that a door needs opening.
The value of giving to others? What value can you give when you see a young person have a breakthrough because of what you taught them? How much is the value of the self-pride you get when someone walks in with a very heavy heart and you use your listening ears and they leave light, with clarity and a spring in their step? Knowing they can fight another day.
Serving is what we’re born to do. It builds connection and connection is the unseen energy of the soul. As Vera Nazarin says: “Sometimes, reaching out and taking someone's hand is the beginning of a journey. At other times, it is allowing another to take yours.” When we connect with someone outside ourselves, serving and supporting them is the basic foundation of humanity. We exist to connect or re-connect, it gives us faith that another day is possible and we can move mountains.
When I was growing up I was told to sit in the corner and be quiet. “Grace if you’re not going to learn just shut up.” School wasn’t the place for me. I struggled with an over-active brain, which in hindsight is how I am here.
I am who I am because people believed in me. Mentors and teachers saw something that I was too young to understand when others were telling me I wasn’t smart.
Thank you for what you do. Thank you for the support you give others.