What leads someone to become a volunteer?
For Rachel Moore it started early. While still in school in Hickman County, Tennessee, she liked to read so she volunteered at her local library. And her mother always told her “You need to help someone whenever you can, because you may need help sometime, too.”
For Rachel, that sometime came three years ago when she lost her husband to suicide. She turned to the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network for help, and then became a volunteer. “It was a chance for me to learn about suicide so other people don’t have to go through what I did,” she says.
Rachel says that volunteering has helped immensely in her recovery. She is able to relate her personal story to help others who are in a similar, or even in worse circumstances than her own.
“I have met some of the most amazing people while volunteering. I know I have gone through periods of strife myself, but to see some of these people makes me feel ashamed of ever complaining about my life.” She has also learned that you can’t judge people by what you see. She always gains inspiration from the people she is working with.
“They teach me that it’s all about attitude.” For example, through her volunteer work Rachel has met a high school athletics coach who is missing both of his arms. She’s seen people with MS who spend hours at a park helping a benefit walk. And she says, “I’m VERY lucky to have met a lady who began volunteering three weeks after losing her spouse to suicide. “
While she does most of her volunteering for the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network and Mental Health America of Middle Tennessee, Rachel often teams up with colleagues at United Healthcare to volunteer. The company encourages employees to post volunteer opportunities on weekly email and recruit others to help on their projects. When an employee completes 30 hours of community service in a year the company will donate $200 to the employee’s charity of choice.
Rachel has participated in a wide range of volunteer activities including answering phones and entering data, helping package food for a mobile food pantry and distributing it to the public. She has spoken to high school classes, helped organize benefit walks, tended booths at numerous events, rounded up volunteers for a 5K race, sorted food at Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee and helped build a home for an amazing family with the Nashville Area Habitat for Humanity.
She’s excited about her next volunteer gig helping an organization that donates pet food to owners who can’t afford it.
“I love volunteering,” Rachel says. “To me, it’s a rush to help others. I’m in awe of all the people I’ve met through volunteering, and I count myself blessed to call them my friends.”
And she offers advice for anyone looking to volunteer. “It’s easy,” she says. “Find something you’re passionate about and just ask what you can do to help.”
Doing Good is thrilled to recognize Rachel Moore as Nashville’s Volunteer of the Month for May 2013.
What are you passionate about? Why do you volunteer? What kind of rush do you get from volunteering?