You never know when an opportunity to help someone will present itself.
I usually spend a couple of hours each Saturday morning catching up on emails, checking out Facebook posts and and seeing what’s trending on Twitter. One day in September during my early Saturday morning ritual, a Tweet from Venture Richmond caught my eye. The group, which plans the annual Richmond Folk Festival, was looking for volunteers to help during the three-day event.
Each year when the festival came to town, I planned to volunteer. Each year, I was too busy. This year, I made the time to volunteer.
I spent about four hours Saturday at an information booth answering questions and handing out hundreds of festival brochures. Around 7 a.m. on Sunday, I went to the Hilton Garden Inn downtown to greet festival performers and workers as they arrived for breakfast. It was a lot of work and a lot of fun. I plan to volunteer again next year.
An unexpected email led to another chance to volunteer. I met Chris Williams more than a year ago when we were guest instructors at Virginia State University. We had led a class taught by Jon Young at the Reginald F. Lewis School of Business.
Chris and I had chatted after the class. We bonded. We both were going through career changes. We exchanged business cards.
I was pleasantly surprised to hear from Chris in October. He had recently started working for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. We agreed to have lunch to reconnect.
I left lunch with Chris’ new business card, lots of information about LLS, and a request to consider volunteering with the group. I liked what I had learned about the group and before I knew it, I had offered to produce a video about one of their upcoming Light the Night events.
I spent an emotional evening at a park in Fredericksburg. I met survivors. I met families who had lost loved ones. I met dozens of dedicated volunteers.
I’m glad Chris sent me that email and I’m glad that I responded to Venture Richmond’s Tweet. I was juggling two or three projects and working some long hours so it would have been easy to skip both volunteer opportunities. Thank goodness I didn’t.