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    Why volunteering is good for the soul

    by Tianna G. Hansen

    I recently started volunteering nearly every Saturday, after waiting for two years for Covid clearances to pass through and new volunteers to be brought on board at Wolf Sanctuary of PA. My apprenticeship began in March 2022, and I quickly felt at home, finding a kind of ‘sanctuary’ among the wolves as well. Many of them come from poor conditions, having lived in overcrowded or improper homes or zoos prior to finding their forever home in Speedwell Forge of Lititz, PA. Before I started volunteering, I was like many of you may relate to: I didn’t feel that I had to “time” or the “patience” to volunteer… but after I started the work there, I learned quickly all that the Sanctuary gave back to me. Not only did I get to spend intimate time among the 50-some wolves who live there, but I learned about the wolf behavior, habits and care from an inside perspective and had the opportunity to connect with many like-minded volunteers and staff who keep the Sanctuary going.

    Is there something you’ve been wanting to dedicate some of your time to, but keep feeling “stuck” in the old habits, patterns and beliefs that tell you there simply isn’t time in your week for such things, etc… I truly believe the Sanctuary is good for the soul, and my volunteering doesn’t feel like a burden or commitment that drains me, but rather gives me energy and provides me with something to look forward to and anticipate at the end of every week.

    Not everyone will relate to the same volunteer opportunity, but there are many nonprofits and other small businesses even around Bucks County and beyond who may benefit from your time. It’s worth looking around as we begin to see summertime hit and fall into a lull of endless summer daze… we can make a difference by committing our time to something we care about.

    When selecting a place to volunteer your time, choose something that speaks to your passions. This will make you feel even more dedicated to the place you give your time.

    Remember, your time is valuable as well and dedicating it somewhere is an act of service that is regarded highly.

    Next, don’t hesitate to ask the place (nonprofit, animal/nature sanctuary, or otherwise) where you decide to volunteer any expectations they might have, what your tasks may be, and if you can expect to gain any new roles after a dedicated length of time.

    For instance, the more time you spend volunteering at the Wolf Sanctuary, you become eligible to apply for different, more advanced roles such as Animal Care and more. These positions aren’t guaranteed, but if you prove that you are dedicated and spend the time learning and putting in the effort, you may be pleasantly surprised.

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