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Celebrating Mothers Day and giving back

Posted by Angela Doyle on May 24, 2010

I have just got home from celebrating Mothers Day in a special way.  I’ve been undertaking conservation volunteering at a local urban bushcare site in Sydney.  As I was walking to the site this morning  I suddenly realized what a great gift and privilege it was not just to send love to my own Mother, Grandmothers and Mothers of the world (both alive and deceased) but to be able to give back to Mother Earth who continually provides for us all.  I’ve been volunteering at this particular site for nearly one and half years and work with an extremely wise and knowledgeable supervisor who gives of his own time, unpaid, to create a wonderful place for the local community and a vital oasis in the local urban area for plants and wildlife.

I’ve had the wonderful fortune of being able to undertake volunteering both as a personal interest but also within the corporate setting as I’ve travelled for work over the past twelve months.  I’ve had many memorable experiences ranging from conservation and organic farming projects in Australia, UK, Iceland and California, packaging food for the poor in Oakland, Northern California;   to attending schools for under privileged and HIV positive children in India.

A common thread that I observe coming through in all these experiences is that as volunteers we are able to fulfil an innate need that we all have to give back to others and to feel that we have a purpose and are able to make a positive contribution.  In volunteering we give back with no expectation of material gain and this is in itself is very uplifting.  Through participating we do something for others and we look outside of ourselves.

In the corporate context volunteering provides an opportunity for team members to step out of their normal job function and to pursue new skills and roles.  It is also a chance for us to learn about our teams and peers in a different way outside of the usual hierarchy at work.  Personally I’ve discovered many wonderful things about work colleagues when I’ve seen them operating in a volunteer context.  Knowing these things has changed the way that we now interact in a work setting.

I also find that participating in volunteering gives many valuable lessons on leadership and interacting in a group context.  For example observing:  how the leader interacts with volunteers and motivates them to engage in the project;  the approach the leader might take to responding to obstacles or signficiant challenges;  ways that are taken to impart knowledge and wisdom to the broader community;  the communication  style of the leader and other volunteers;  the leader and team’s commitment to making a difference;  and humility as there is so much that we don’t know and once you start volunteering you start to have a little appreciation of this.

I find that all the learnings that I gain through the volunteering can in turn be taken back to enrich other parts of my personal and professional life.

7 Responses to “Celebrating Mothers Day and giving back”

  1. Meg Bear said

    Angela, I wonder if you realize what a role model you are for each of us. I’m so glad you are blogging!

    – Meg

  2. Louise Barnfield said

    Angela, I love how passionate you are and how deeply committed to making the world a better place! You’ve hit on many excellent points about the benefits of volunteering, not only to us as individuals, but also in the corporate context.
    One comment particularly resonated with me: it ‘has changed the way that we now interact in a work setting.’ I’ve indeed experienced that myself; that the comradeship that comes from undertaking a project together fosters a terrific spirit of collaboration that lives on in the workplace.
    I’m looking forward to many more insightful comments in your future posts! 🙂

  3. Amy Wilson said

    Angela – you make me want to be a better person and leader. I loved what you wrote about the opportunity to observe different kinds of leaders, and in particular those that inspire action. Cheers, Angela.

  4. […] Doyle from the TalentedApps team discusses volunteering in Celebrating Mothers Day and Giving Back. I am a volunteer in multiple capacities, both professionally and personally so I really enjoyed […]

  5. Congratulations, Angela, on your first post here and for having it receive great kudos. It fit very well with the latest Carnival of HR theme around finding inspiration!

  6. I love to go out and Help. Last time was in a HOME for people coming all over the deepest places in Miami to have lunch. They also got to stay there all time they want, rest, study, and on time…even got a job. The way that been there makes me feel was awesome. A gift. I then learned to appreciate every single thing I have in my life, to also appreciate who’s around, and how much important is every little help we all can gave. But nothing like waking up to how much still to be done on this earth. I’m glad there is lots of chances for us to give a hand out there. I’m glad for any opportunity. I like this note of yours!!! Keep it coming.
    ~Great Love to you,
    Mirian from peelingtheorange.

  7. Angela Doyle said

    Thanks for your words of encouragement and for sharing your own perspectives on this topic. I’m definitely inspired to write more. 🙂

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