What makes you smile? What makes you light up from the inside? For me, it is volunteering. I remember volunteering my time alongside fellow girls as a Girl Scout. It is a passion of mine which has grown from the time I was 5, to now, 31 years old.
I grew up a Navy brat, and my dad kept his work life in the military separate from his family life. I had no idea what the USO, ACS, or NMFA were. Now, I have been an Army wife for a little over 12 years, and I have spent time volunteering with family readiness groups, ACS, and an organization off-post near Fort Hood, Texas.
I recently started volunteering with NMFA, and it is hard to put into words just how excited and blessed I feel right now. I have not been involved in the community on post the last few years due to my husband’s job assignment. We also had a baby in 2012, so my focus lately has been on my family. Only recently have I felt like I have a little more “JESSICA” time, as I call it.
As I grow with the NMFA, I often take time to remember all the things volunteering has added to my life. Lasting friendships, references for employment, experience to add to my resume, real-world training, and of course, the feeling of accomplishment. While stationed in Europe, I could not get a job from time to time. Instead, I would volunteer, and the experience from volunteering and references aided in my future employment. If you’re in the same boat trying to fill a depleted resume–give volunteering a try! NMFA is waiting to add you to the Volunteer Corps!
I have had people try to understand why I love volunteering. They don’t understand why I would work for free. To me, volunteering is a blessing and honor. I have no issues if a person does not understand; I just invite them to join me. Come and see the smiles that light up at the events. The smiles alone are the blessing. We never know what is going on within a family. I can help a family forget about the training or deployment that takes a loved one away. I can help them forget that the car payment is late, so they can feed their kids. I can offer compassion and support to them and let them know that they have a family here. Volunteering creates lasting impressions.
As a volunteer I cannot wait to write and share my very own adventures in volunteering. I hope I can inspire others to volunteer and add to their military community.
Has volunteering ever impacted you in a great way? We’d love to hear your story!
Posted by Jessica Richardson, NMFA Volunteer and military spouse