By Aviv Tome |

There is a connection you experience when someone thanks you for your help. It’s a sense of fulfillment you get because you know you have planted one small good deed into someone else’s life. Through volunteering in several organizations, I have humbly learned three lessons on how to serve others with a smile on my face and a heart filled with joy.

With the holiday season approaching, I encourage you to give back to your community. Whether it is giving away basic necessities to the homeless during the cold winter days, or volunteering at your local orphanage for Christmas. There are endless outlets that need a helping hand, and all it takes is to stop and devote some time or spare some change.

I wanted to take a moment to step back and really absorb what I’ve learned from these experiences and urge you to take a moment this season to help others in need.

In Matthew 5:6, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven,” I found comfort to continue my journey into volunteering.  

The first lesson I learned was that there is always more to the picture you see. Prejudice comes easily when you are ignorant and unaware, so always be willing to explore the possibilities, restraints and obstacles you might face when volunteering. No matter where you serve or whom you’re helping, always go in with an open mind and an open heart. Be ready to get hands-on and invest time in the people or cause you’re helping.

Remember that the main reason you’re in this is to learn how other people live, work and get by so that together you can find the best help available. You’re helping them and in the process, you’re also learning how to interact with people from all walks of life.

The second lesson taught me that there is always someone who will need your help. No matter how big or how small, the world needs kindness, one good deed at a time. I understand that we are college students who are busy with classes, tests and extracurriculars, but a few hours or even minutes of your week could make the difference in your local shelters. The beauty of volunteering is that you give what you can and what you want. Remember that it’s about dipping your toe first, then slowly find your place. For every cause that you decide to support, there is a team of people behind it ready to welcome you to help.

Finally, I learned that helping others is a chain reaction. You never know what ripple effect your action caused. Whether it is putting a smile on someone’s face, or having a warm cup of coffee with a new friend! Always be on the lookout for the positive chain reaction volunteering brings to your life and the impact it causes in the community.

Check out the volunteer opportunities in Waco here.