After graduating from a junior college, I took classes such as, Beginning and Advanced Acting, which taught me to work with others in groups, to be able to take directions, and to get feedback from others by not taking it personally. I also took Auditory Processing Strategies Lab which taught me to focus on development of a process-based approach to auditory processing, attention/focus, and communication skills with an emphasis on the utilization of specialized equipment, and to support students in any class requiring verbal and/or written communication skills, for example, students receive instructions and guidance, such as, listening to specific CDs and journal writing. Ever since I finished school, I remember getting distracted and going back to my bad habits. Then, I realized that I had to stop, to take control, and to make fair decisions that would benefit for me in my faith journey.
These learning experiences have helped me in the two places where I volunteer at a Food Bank and at my Parish. Before, I volunteered, I stayed home for three months because of feeling depressed and looking for work, until I realized that I needed to get out and do something for myself and meaningful. Yet, I hesitated to volunteer because of not getting paid. A friend said to me, “If you volunteer your time, this will build your self-esteem and make you feel better, too.”
In September, I started to volunteer at the Food Bank - http://www.foodbankformontereycounty.org/ . The concern I had was switching my schedule, which I come in, one day a week. Though, I was very shy and didn’t want to say anything. I had to inform the coordinator, as well as, the program manager about my need to switch because of feeling stressed in driving from my home to the location in busy traffic. One day, during break time, the coordinator sat with me and two other volunteers. One of the volunteers said to me, “You’re so quiet.” I said, “I’m not a morning person.” The coordinator explained that she needed people in the afternoon. When I completed my hours for the day, I went to the office and spoke with the Program Manager and asked if I could come in the afternoons, instead of the mornings, and she approved. Now, I am comfortable organizing the can foods on the shelves and making it look presentable and neat. Also, I would say hello to visitors that come to the food bank and answer any of their questions, Plus, I am also able to have conversations with the coordinators, managers, and supervisor.
In August, I began volunteering at my parish, Our Lady of Refuge Church. I remember sharing with the Business Manager that I didn’t feel comfortable being in the front of the office and asked if there were other projects that I can help with. She referred me to help with the two Sisters in the Religious Education Department. I meet with them and they gave me instructions on how to organize forms and documents for the new school year of Religious Education. They said we need help organizing, sorting, and filing registration forms and birth certificates. However, they asked if I would be interested in volunteering as an Aide for Catechism this school year and remarkably, about 5 years ago, one of the Sisters asked if I could volunteer and my answer to her then was "No!". However, now with my new listen skills, I realized she kept asking me because she could sense that I could work well with people and the community. Luckily, the teacher who I will be assisting has done this for many years and knows her students. Since, this is my first time volunteering, this will help me get out of my comfort zone of dealing with the students, their parents, teacher, and the community snf put into practice the skills I learned in school.
A while back when I attended Mass, I had a difficult time understanding the Word of God, or I thought the reading wasn’t real for my time or if the Homily made sense to me. I never really listened because I didn’t feel any connections to the readings. Then one day, a parishioner encouraged me to read the Bible, to have a sense of what is the meaning behind the words. When I was helping out in the class for Catechism, when the teacher was out, one of the Sisters subbed that day. She had us look for a Bible verse. Once, we found that particular verse, she explained to us, when you read the verse, think about how this verse is close to your heart and feel it. Afterwards, we discussed in class what the verse meant to us. When everyone shared their ideas, I realized that I can do this on my own, but I get more out of sharing with a group. This taught me to encourage, to help, as well as, to pray for one another.
Now, I’ve attended meetings, lectures-Bible 101, events, and fundraisers at my parish. Ever since, I put myself out in the community, I’m able to network and to share my skills and talents with others. The neat thing about volunteer work is that I can work my own hours in the week. I would say volunteering my time has been rewarding, having a different perspective of life, and knowing that I’m grateful of my life.
Having those background skills that I learned in school has helped me with communication in all aspects of my life. Thanks Be to God!