If you have followed me for any amount of time, you have noticed I am often the volunteer photographer at local events and fundraisers for various charities. This is my 'why'
As a child growing up in a very small Iowa town, I don't remember my family volunteering. I remember my parents being Jaycees for a time but that's it. The first time I heard about volunteering I was so confused. 'Work for no money? Why would anyone do that?'
I have learned there are a lot of amazing reasons people volunteer. One of the big reasons I do is fairly selfish! It feels good!!! I love being able to help out using a skill I have. Being able to provide something for a non-profit, like professional portraits for their marketing or covering an event, is just plain good.
One recent event I photographed was called 'Gimme Shelter' It was for South Side Office of Concern to raise money to help with homelessness in the Peoria area. Participants of charity fundraisers often get all dolled up, eat a fancy meal and bid on awesome items donated by local businesses. 'Gimme Shelter' is about as far removed from that as it can possibly be! Participants get dolled up all right...in their warmest winter attire and prepare to spend the night sleeping outside the Peoria Civic Center in a cardboard box. There are short workshops for learning and activities to keep participants occupied, but it's a cold 6pm-6am event! This event really opened my eyes. No matter how crummy my day may be, I can look around and know I have a warm and safe home to live in.
Do you volunteer? What local organizations have you fallen in love with?