MMEA and ACDA are the backbone of our profession. They offer the finest of professional development, relationships, and opportunities for our singers. Fundamentally, they are volunteer organizations. This requires us to periodically commit ourselves to their ongoing work.
The longer I am invested in my career, the greater I feel my obligation to give back to the organizations that have so fully supported my students and me. Without the helpful hand of member volunteers, professional organizations like MMEA and ACDA wouldn’t exist. Every opportunity I have had to offer service, time, and energy to these organizations has easily benefitted me far more than any impact I have made on the organization. That is the nature of volunteering.
Volunteering can be taxing and the circumstances trying. There are times during volunteer work when we need to remind ourselves that we have freely offered. There are times when we need encouragement to persevere. There are circumstances that we endure or inherit that cause us to reconsider our free obligation. When we fully give of ourselves it is not without burden, conflict, or question.
Volunteering has tangible physiological benefits. Elevated levels of oxytocin help to reduce stress and move us away from negative emotions associated with high stress. Research indicates that those who volunteer may actually live longer.
In addition to health benefits, volunteering can have emotional benefits such as pride, satisfaction, and accomplishment. “When we share our time and talents we solve problems, strengthen communities, improve lives, connect to others, transform our own lives.” https://www.nationalservice.gov/serve-your-community/benefits-volunteering
I wholeheartedly believe in the spirit of volunteerism. I honor the commitment to giving back to people and organizations that continuously bless me. Only recently have I begun to acknowledge the value of balance in my life. Age has encouraged me to give lovingly and wholeheartedly, and to ensure that I take on what I am able to do fully with excellence.
We are “yes” people. We see the possibilities, the potential in situations, environments, and other people. We give of ourselves until we are out of time. We give until it feels as though we aren’t doing anything well. Altruism can take many forms. If you can’t give of your time perhaps you can provide financial support. You could be an encourager, someone who provides support or encouragement to volunteers.
As the 2017 academic year comes to a close, so does my term as MMEA Choral VP. I am grateful and humbled to have had the opportunity to serve MMEA as Choral VP over these past two years. I believe in this organization, the process, and the rewards of the All-State experience for the singers. It is inspirational work for all who are involved, the singers and the professionals. I thank you for entrusting me with this responsibility; it has been a joy and an honor. I will continue to find ways in which to plug into our profession in the healthy spirit of volunteerism. Every second of your life is spent doing something, so make the seconds count. Join me!