Five Ways You Can Start Your Volunteering!

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Editor’s Note: The Harlequin More Than Words award recipients have a wealth of experience to share, so to celebrate National Volunteer Week (April 18-24), we asked each of them to provide their tips for adding volunteerism to a busy schedule. Each day this week, one award recipient will offer her creative ways for getting fulfillment and satisfaction from some time and energy well spent!

Rhonda Clemons, Founder of Zoë Institute, a faith-based, long-term support agency for single women and their kids, shares her thoughts on volunteerism:

Clean out your wardrobe – donate clothing items that you haven’t worn lately to a charity that distributes clothing to women starting new lives (getting out of a shelter, going back to school, or maybe starting a new job).

Find a good “self-help” book that you’ve been wanting to read – volunteer to lead a group of eight women through the book with you for the next 8 weeks or so…

Volunteer to be a single mom’s mentor for the next 3 months – this would involve meeting weekly for one hour to support her as she works toward achieving her goals in life.

Organize a monthly or quarterly drive through your church or office – some of the items needed by women/children beginning new lives include: shampoo, feminine products, toothpaste, toothbrushes, diapers, formula, paper products, etc.

Be an advocate for charities that support women and children in your community. If your office or company has community reinvestment money, get involved and make sure they give to all types of needs.  Guide your company into new giving opportunities as you become aware of them.  Remember too that company’s can donate used equipment and expertise to small nonprofits as well.


We’d love to hear about your volunteer experiences. Do you have a touching or humorous story about your own volunteer activities that you’d like to share? Comment today for a chance to win a FREE copy of More Than Words, Volume 6 which includes Robyn Carr’s novella SHELTERING HEARTS, inspired by Rhonda Clemons. Ms. Carr will personalize an autographed copy especially for the winner! Contest closes at 11:59 pm EST tonight and is only open to residents of the U.S. and Canada. For full contest details, please see here.

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8 Responses to Five Ways You Can Start Your Volunteering!

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  2. I don’t know if my story is touching or humorous, but my husband likes to “volunteer” me for various projects. I have experience designing books and forms, and he always hands out my name. (I volunteer on my own for school projects, etc, but this is above and beyond.) Of course, he forgets to mention his kind deed to me, until a deadline looms. Lucky for him (and the persons he’s promised), I work better on a deadline than without.

  3. This story didn’t actually happen to me, it happened to my husband. He still talks about it to this day.

    We signed up to visit a shelter housing women and children during the holidays. He was dressed up as Santa Claus, and I was his helper. After a steady stream of kids asking for bikes and video games, one little boy edged up to him, finally perching on his lap with a bit of encouragement. My husband asked him what he wanted for Christmas. I don’t think either one of us will forget his response.

    “I want a dad.”

    Every Christmas, I think about that little boy, and hope that he finally got his heart’s desire.

  4. Rhonda — it’s so nice to be reminded that we’re a community and have to always help each other! Thank you for all you do! Just going through the closet can make such a difference. A lot of us get real busy and it’s hard to find the time to do things for others, but one thing there’s always time for and can make an emormous difference — I try to never leave the house in a bad mood. Just a smile and some kindness not only makes a huge difference in the lives of people we meet, but it seems to be contagious. And I KNOW it comes back to us in unimaginable ways.

    It was such a privilege to try to represent your enormous contributions in a story, Rhonda. I thank you so much for your hard work, generosity of spirit and optimism! xoxoxo

    Robyn Carr

  5. I volunteer every year and participate in Brenda Novak’s Jr. Diabetes Auction. We have two pages at Brenda Auction this year…..The Pink Heart Society and Pacific Northwest Authors page. I also donate clothing to a woman’s shelter.

  6. Even if sometimes we are totally overwhelmed–if we volunteer in something we like we will meet other “overwhelmed” people in the activity. Pretty soon we find out we are no different, more busy, richer or poorer than most everyone else. We don’t focus on ourselves and our troubles–just get busy. We lift each other up, inspire each other and learn from each other. xxoocf

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  8. Congratulations Joanne Huspek! You are the winner of Friday’s book draw. Robyn Carr will personalize a copy of MORE THAN WORDS, VOL 6 just for you! Look for an email from me with more details.

    Thanks to everyone who followed the Harlequin More Than Words feature on the blog this week. Some really great ideas and stories were shared – as well as a lot of inspiration!

    And THANK YOU to everyone who helped make this happen – all of the award recipients who shared their expertise and passion; the wonderful, dedicated authors who penned the stories and are signing books for the draw winners, and the great folks at the Harlequin Blog for the technical support and wise council.

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