Thinking About Volunteer Day

It’s been a while since I last penned one of these. What have I been up to since last I Image_clyde second harvestwrote a Clyde’s Corner?

During the last year, I have had the unique opportunity to volunteer in some efforts independent of the DRIFoundation. Last summer, a dear friend and I volunteered at a camp for children with cancer. Children fighting to be well, cancer-free survivors, and their siblings attend the day camp free of charge. My buddy and I taught photography in a little log cabin donated by the generous people at Nikon. We didn’t know going in what we would encounter and every day was different, challenging, and emotional. I was scared to take that leap, never having worked with children who were sick. It was amazing on so many levels.

Volunteering can take on many shapes indeed, and over the years so many of you have told me where you and your families volunteer in your communities and otherwise. During my second year volunteering to help New Orleans I enlisted my wife, daughter, brother, sister-in-law, and a friend or two. We stayed in the Habitat Camp Hope Barracks where men and women stayed in separate quarters and meals were provided to all volunteers, who included people of all ages.

It was there that we met our now lifetime friend Joanne, who came down from the Toronto area to help the people of New Orleans. She could spackle and paint, and goodness her laugh was contagious! She taught me that volunteering and helping others have no boundaries. We met church groups (and some we’d see year after year) and high school and college kids, while swinging hammers and sanding the spackle. The community of volunteers got dirty together, ate together, laughed and cried together.

I’m not bragging that I do so much — on the contrary, I do just a little. That’s all I ask of all of you. I am fortunate to have run the last two Volunteer Days and am in the heat of planning our third. I’d like to think I make it a memorable day for volunteers and those we help.

If you are attending DRI2014 this year in Atlanta, we have three unique volunteer opportunities for you. Rebuilding Together Atlanta will provide an opportunity to help homeowners in a non-affluent community. Truly Living Well will give you a chance to sink your hands in the dirt at this center city organic community vegetable garden. And the Atlanta Community Food bank will welcome you to sort food for those in need in and around the Atlanta area. Spend time helping others and when you head back home, bring the heart and energy of volunteerism with you for the benefit of those in your community. Just a little bit of help means so much to those who need you.

Volunteer with me Saturday, May 17 in Atlanta, and please come have dinner with your fellow volunteers on Friday night, May 16 — details to be announced!


All the best,
Clyde Berger

DRI Foundation VP and Director, Volunteerism