My challenge for day 12 is to volunteer.  Volunteering can be one of the most rewarding experiences in your life.  There are so many different ways you can volunteer.  Many people volunteer around Thanksgiving and Christmas by helping out with a soup kitchen or by buying presents for less fortunate kids.  There are so many other ways that we can volunteer all year long.  There is so much need out there.

When I lived in Texas, I volunteered quite a bit.  For 3 years I volunteered as a Child Advocate helping kids who were removed from their home due to neglect or abuse and temporarily placed with either a relative or a foster family.  My role was to meet with the kids, their caretakers and the parents for the length of the case making sure that the needs of the kids were met and the parents were following their service plan as required by the court.  I also went to court every few months on behalf of the kids and made suggestions to the judge for their care and their placement.  It was the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done in my life.  My first case was a tough one, but ended well with the child being placed with their father.  I did have one tough experience where a parent realized that they would not be able to care for their twins and turned over their parental rights.  It was a very difficult case for me, but ultimately the kids were placed with a loving family that I am confident will give them a great life.

I also volunteered as a Girl Scout Leader for many years as well as a team captain and corporate lead for Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation for almost 10 years.  Doing for others is, in my opinion, a requirement for all of us.  It is what God wants us to do.

For this challenge, I decided to volunteer in a way that I never have before.  I live in a small rural area and there aren’t opportunities to volunteer as much as there was back in Texas so I had to do a little research.  I found an opportunity to volunteer with an organization that assists veterans who are homeless.  I have much respect for all our service men and women.  I have several men in my family who have and are serving our country so being able to help veterans is in a way honoring those in my family as well.  It was such an awesome experience to help these men and women.  There was such sadness in their eyes when they would walk in, but as many of them walked out the door, there was a smile on their face.  Making them feel important was the least I could do for them after all they have done for us.

I am so glad that I decided to do this challenge.  Each day has given me joy, pride, and strength.  I feel better about the person I am and I feel that I am teaching my children a valuable lesson that I hope they will carry on with them in their lives.

Challenge yourself…you might see that you like what you find inside of yourself.

You can read the full 21 day challenge here at Be a better you.