Volunteers are the backbone of our community. There are volunteer firefighters, hospital volunteers, volunteers in religious and civic groups, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, 4H clubs, volunteers at sporting events, school functions and activities, animal shelters, and many more fundraising causes and non-profit groups and organizations.

Volunteering at least once a month would not only make an impact on your community but the personal rewards are varied and numerous. Volunteers do not receive money for what they do but there is no amount of money that can replace what you earn in self-satisfaction, love and joy when you are giving of your time and talents in helping others.

It saddens and frustrates me when people complain or treat volunteers with anything less than appreciation for what they have contributed. Each of us have our faults and short comings. When working with volunteers we must be ever mindful of not letting our personal differences or negative opinions hurt or demean what anyone else has to offer.

Recently a friend of mine was condemned for the way she represented and ran her organization. Her many hours of service and dedication were made to seem useless and unproductive. When working with other volunteers we must be diligent in seeking out the strengths and weaknesses of all the people you work with. Take the time to seek out the good in others and help and offer your love and kindness when necessary, always showing respect to one another. All volunteers are there because they care enough to take time out of their busy lives to give to someone else. We are not there to judge or be judged. The Bible reminds us to "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" - Matthew 7:12.

Groups everywhere struggle to recruit the volunteers they need. It seems that it is always the same people doing the same things year after year. No volunteer should ever be turned away or made to feel unappreciated. Take a few moments to thank your volunteers, offering up a smile or a kind word is the first step in keeping and encouraging others to volunteer and help break the cycle of the same folks doing the same things.

As a community, as a people, we all need each other, like it or not, in some capacity. Volunteers are the driving force that come together and help the community when disasters strike or when there are needs in the community that "paid jobs" don’t provide.

I recommend that everyone, young and old alike, volunteer in some capacity at least once a month. The benefits from your efforts are just too numerous to say. There is a group or organization out there for every walk of life, interest, personality and skill set. Find your niche and get love rich. Pick a group or organization to give your time and talents to. We all have something to contribute, something to give, for "It is in the giving that we receive" - Prayer of St. Francis.

Random Ramblings by Jackie Sikes is submitted randomly, of course.