Four reasons you should volunteer in your community

Over the last several years I have had many occasions to serve in some kind of volunteer capacity, some using my public relations skills and others that involved just a listening ear or hands-on work. Giving back to your community is just a good thing to do but if you need some reasons, here you go:



  1. Your life will be enriched by new friends. Several years ago I volunteered my public relations skills to help raise money and increase volunteers for a soup kitchen in my community. There were a lot of late working nights, and sleepless nights as we sweated through all the details to ensure the success of our campaign. We did see success but the biggest payoff for me was the development of really good friends who I cannot imagine not having in my life.
  2. You may gain valuable work experience. That same soup kitchen campaign gave me hands-on experience planning and implementing a public relations campaign that saw much success with not only earned media placement, but also exceeding our fundraising goal. It was great for the resume.
  3. You just might change someone’s life for the good. I have volunteered as a youth mentor for various organizations over the years, and there is nothing more rewarding than seeing a young person find inspiration to be the best they can be.
  4. You will be a better person. Following the public relations work for the soup kitchen I decided to do some hands-on work for the organization and volunteered to cook and serve. Over the course of the next year I ended up getting more than I gave. I met people who I never would have been exposed to had I not spent time in the kitchen. I also learned that I’m not “all that.” I never considered myself a prideful person but deep down I did see myself a little farther up the food chain than the patrons who frequented the soup kitchen. During that year, I realized how much I had to learn from the people we served.

One final thought about volunteering: It’s important to try out different organizations and give yourself freedom to fail. I’m not saying you should do shoddy work or skip around to different organizations every week. What I mean is that you should give yourself freedom to step down from your volunteer role if you have given all you can give. Remember that there is a season for everything, and this includes both work and rest.


Is there a connection between dementia and post-anesthesia confusion?

For this week’s post I am departing from the norm and am writing about what’s consumed my thinking this week: my dad’s crazy health scare. If you are looking for a communication connection, please hang with me until the end. You’ll be glad you did. Alzheimers Concept Horizontal

The emotional roller coaster began eight days ago when my 75-year-old dad woke up from a routine surgery in a confused and agitated state. I know this can be normal for some people and had happened to a lesser degree with my dad during a previous procedure. I’m not looking for comfort or reassurance. What I am looking for, however, is some kind of connection. My mind typically wanders into exploring connections between all kinds of ideas, oddities, etc., and perhaps doing so brings me comfort.

Anyway, as the week progressed my dad was in and out of a confused state, at times thinking the hospital was an apartment building where he and mom were looking to move. At other times dad was having angry conversations with people, some he had known and some who were total strangers. During one of his more lucid moments this week he said he knew everything going on in reality but was also having “crazy dreams” about people who had been dead for many years. He slept very little this week so these were not sleeping “dreams.”

The scary part is that my dad sounded just like his dad did when he had been suffering from severe dementia for many years. The interesting part, to me, is how he could remember being simultaneously in both worlds: reality and the visions. Since his symptoms mimic dementia, I have cause to wonder how much people who have suffered for years with dementia understand about their present reality. Perhaps they understand more than we think but just can’t communicate what they understand. What makes me sad is how many dementia and Alzheimer’s patients are ignored in nursing homes, or at home by frustrated family members.

I asked my mom to write down everything. Who knows? Maybe my dad’s situation and others who have dealt with post-anesthesia confusion could be used to help better understand dementia.

Amazing breakthrough with Alzheimer's patient
Amazing breakthrough with Alzheimer’s patient

It is situations like dad’s and the lady in this amazing video that show me the importance of keeping the communication flowing with family members suffering from this terrible disease.