Dana and I are big believers in the fact that we become happier as we take the focus off of ourselves and get involved in projects that are close to our heart.
An active volunteer, Dana has been busy lately volunteering with Claws for Paws and recently made a connection with an equine rescue group. I’m active in my church and am a member of the Rotary Club of Rome, but lately I’ve felt a pull to get involved in a way to improve educational attainment in the town where I grew up and still live.
When I was a kid, there were great commercials on TV that said “Reading is Fundamental.” In my opinion, nothing could be truer. Learning to read and developing a love for reading is so important, and I believe it’s a crucial step to fighting a lot of the problems in our communities and our world.
Books open up new worlds for children. As they read, children explore new ideas and learn how to learn and think and dream.
I had done some preliminary research on literacy efforts in my area and discovered a group called the Ferst Foundation, which works across Georgia and — of greater interest to me — in Polk County (where I live). I raised my hand or in this case sent a Facebook message to say “Hey, tell me more about this.” I even asked a friend who shares my heart for literacy to tag along.
And then Monday rolled around.
To be honest, after a full day of work, I really wanted to rush home and climb into my jammies and spend some quality time with the DVR. Instead, I picked up my friend, and we went to the meeting to learn more and to see how we can get involved helping to provide books to children from birth to age 5 — so that they are better prepared to learn when they arrive in kindergarten or pre-K programs.
At the meeting, we found committed volunteers who are already working to make a difference in literacy and school readiness in our county. We just need to start working alongside them. I came home from the meeting energized and encouraged about being part of such a positive program. It made me happy.
On my drive into work the next day, I was thinking about how my first Ferst meeting really reflected the principles we’ve been talking about here on the Pink Typewriter Project.
I decided to do something and followed through. My husband Larry volunteers a lot of time for environmental causes, working with Keep Polk Beautiful. I respect that and decided it was time to start investing in something I’m passionate about. I identified a cause I care about, researched work being done in my area, and sought out information on how to get involved.
I invited a friend along. Life is sweeter when it is shared with a friend. And, doing something outside your comfort zone (like walking into a meeting where you might not know anyone) is easier with a friend. Knowing my friend was waiting also made it impossible for me to back out at the last minute.
I will be using my talents to help. I work full time so I won’t be able to volunteer at Pre-K roundups to sign up children, but I can get involved in helping to spread the word. We all have talents that we’ve been gifted with; we need to channel those into making a difference.
By volunteering, I took an active step toward boosting my own happiness. I shifted the focus off of myself and decided to make a difference for someone else.