"Together, we can create a stronger community by giving our time and talents to the people and places that need them most."
Photo by Imani Khayyam.
About two and a half years ago, I started volunteering at Operation Shoestring, and my job was to help first-, second- and third-graders with homework in everyone's favorite subject: math. It didn't take long for me to realize that not everyone shared my love for math, especially not my students. However, what I have learned through my volunteer experience was that there is no way to calculate the impact volunteering has had on my life and on the lives of the children with whom I've been able to work.
I want you to have that same experience, which is why I am writing to encourage you to commit to volunteering at organizations like Operation Shoestring for at least 10 hours this year. The act of volunteering is a learning and growing experience for everyone involved and helps create the positive changes we want to see in our community.
I found that my passion for helping others solve problems made me a perfect fit as a math tutor, and being a math tutor has helped developed bonds that allow me to help Operation Shoestring staff, parents and children turn challenges into positive experiences.
Knowing I can help create these positive experiences for children and families inspires me to invest time each month to help with homework. And the truth is, it doesn't take a lot of time. You can spend 30 minutes of your lunch break reading to a classroom or devote an hour to a volunteer program over the weekend. It doesn't take a lot of time to make a huge difference.
Hopefully, I'll bump into you somewhere in Operation Shoestring's amazing new facility as we volunteer together. But, if it's not there, I hope you will consider volunteering for a nonprofit or cause you care about deeply. Together, we can create a stronger community by giving our time and talents to the people and places that need them most.
For more information about volunteering at Operation Shoestring, email Tolonda Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit operationshoestring.org/volunteer to sign up.
Timothy Clayborn is a Mississippi native and graduate of Jackson State University. He volunteers regularly for Operation Shoestring and Stewpot.
CORRECTION: In the original version of this story, the Jackson Free Press spelled the names of Timothy Clayborn and Tolonda Jones wrong. The JFP apologizes for these errors.