"Volunteering does a mind, body and community good," says pinky Penmark aka Robert Shaffer "Volunteering has become my therapy. I walk away from each day of service with a great sense of peace and empowerment that no therapist has ever been able to provide me."

Charles Robert Shaffer aka Pinky Penmark Chimes in On His/Her Life-Changing Volunteer Experiences.

Back in my twenty something years, I often felt isolated from the world, alone and without a connection to those around me. I questioned my purpose in the world and the meaning of life regularly. A miracle happened somewhere around my 28th year, as it does for many about that age I suspect, because I suddenly, truly felt adult, and I recognized that we are on a journey and it's a long game.

I refer to this period in my life as the day I finally decided to leave childhood behind. I gave up my pursuit of instant gratification and embraced adulthood. I became interested in my community and became more focused on attempting to make the world a better place for everyone instead of just for me.

Soon thereafter I discovered the magic powers of volunteering. Simple acts of kindness and the offering up of my time eventually and completely changed what was important to me. Suddenly, my priorities looked a whole lot different then before. I came to understand that the world should expect things from me instead of me expecting things from the world. Volunteering has given me a relationship with not only the many wonderful people I would have never met otherwise, but more importantly, it gave me a relationship with the world.

Pictured below are two college friends and myself in 1984, the heart of our twenty somethings. On the left is my freshman college roomate Tom Miller. In the center is college gal pal Amy Schutlz (Now Amy Prather). And, on the right you will find myself in the midst of what appears to be an attempt to look like Ellen Degeneres, SMH?

Myself as Ellen Degeneres with college friends Amy Schultz and Tom Miller.

Many years after I became an active volunteer in my community, I found that my volunteer experiences were often times introducing me to a variety of groups of marginalized and underserved peoples right in the very neighborhoods in which I lived and worked for years. Yet in my haste I had allowed my human instinct to avoid things that make me feel uncomfortable cloak these people as invisible to me for most of my life.

Suddenly, my volunteering became more focused on activism and centered around organizations serving our most underserved peoples. I become very interested in local politics and volunteered in many local political campaigns. My life became so filled with purpose--I had escaped my isolationism and was focusing on things that would be critical to the generations of people who would come long after I am gone.

Caught in the Rainbow at St Pete Pride Stonewall Reception 2015 with Scion Provenzano, President, St Pete Pride.

I now get my greatest sense of self-worth by working in areas where the results most assuredly will not come soon enough for me to benefit from them in my lifetime. But, these things are what give me life today. And they give me a greater personal sense of satisfaction than I ever imagined was possible.

As my life became busier and busier, I learned about VolunteerMatch, and although it is where I landed after years of being active in my community, it is the place that I now tell new volunteers they should start. It will help you link up with the best opportunies based on your individual interests and skills and it will manage your volunteer time for you as well.

After using VolunteerMatch personally to manage my volunteer shifts for years, I now also use it to handle volunteer recruitment and sign up for events that I manage. VolunteerMatch describes itself as being in the business of pairing inspired individuals with inspired causes. It is now the largest network of volunteers in the non-profit world, and it facilitates the greatest number of positive outcomes.

My experience with VolunteerMatch has been completely positive and I only wish that such a service was around when I began volunteering regularly. When someone asks me where they should begin to explore what volunteering can do for them, VolunteerMatch is always my first suggestion. A simple Google search for volunteering will turn up several other similar programs as well, should anyone find that VolunteerMatch is not the best option for them.

Click the VolunteerMatch button below to begin your journey and unlock your potential to reach a more satisfying state of being. After a short time, your volunteer experiences will begin to dramatically change the way you view yourself, the world and others around you.

It sounds too simple and easy to be true, but volunteering in your community will indeed change your life for the better while you are improving the comunity as a whole. Therapy is expensive. Volunteering is not. Remember, volunteering will do the mind, body and community good.

Created By
Charles Robert Shaffer

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.