Maybe it was in some way related to the economy. Maybe it was President Obama’s service directive to the American people. Or maybe it had nothing to do with either of those. For whatever the reason, this year Special Olympics New Mexico not only had more athletes than ever before at our 2009 State Summer Games – we also had a record number of volunteers.
Incorporating the act of service in our lives regardless of our age is always a good decision, as well as a healthy one. There are actually statistics that prove those who volunteer have less tension, lower mortality rates, and lower rates of depression. Although improving one’s health is always a good reason to give of your time and talent, it’s not the best reason. The most amazing thing about volunteering, at least in my opinion, has everything to do with the “connection” that happens between people. When we give of ourselves – we connect with each other. Problems get solved, new relationships are formed, old ones are strengthened, and in the process of not having the option of picking whom we want to be connected to – through service to others our eyes see deeper, and our lives uniquely and meaningfully change.
If you take a good look in your corner of the world, you will see people with and without disabilities traveling through life sadly disconnected from others. Volunteering is a testimony that our days don’t have to be that way. They can be rich, full and purposeful. With that thought in mind, how connected are you?