“Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart.” — Elizabeth Andrew
Babywearing groups meet around the world, with one shared purpose; to help babywearing caregivers, families, or those simply curious to find what works for them. Babywearing groups are community resources. The folks who run them do so on a volunteer basis, and they do it for a very special reason – because they care. They want to help. For National Volunteer Week, I’d like to recognize the work put in by every single volunteer with every single babywearing group. All of you. Your work makes an impact.
What does it mean to volunteer in the babywearing community?
- You willingly share your time, care, energy, and support with others in your community. With friends, acquaintances, and people you don’t even know, all in an effort to make it easier for them to care for their child.
- You willingly give your talents, knowledge, and expertise free of charge, even, in some cases, when you also make your living from that knowledge and expertise. You provide education as a resource, free of charge, which extends your reach to include those who aren’t traditionally included in our society.
- You create and maintain human connections through your willingness to work together with your fellow volunteers, for the betterment of your community, and to the benefit of those within it. You are part of creating the space that fills so many other volunteers’ hearts with joy, pride, camaraderie. You insert communities into previously-neutral physical spaces, and you create communities in countless virtual spaces.
- You listen to those who’ve come to you for help, with concern and care. Your attendees tell you about their fears, uncertainty, and their pain and discomfort, as well as their hopes and their successes. You become a companion and trusted friend through their journey in caring for their young children.
- You share your own personal fears and hard times, and your successes, so that new caregivers whose lives have just been turned upside down can see that they’re not alone. You give them confidence that they can reach their goals.
- You are a technician and a laborer, with all the tables you’ve set up, the carriers you’ve checked over for soiling or damage, the chairs you’ve stacked, and the heavy bags you’ve hauled. You wash and iron gobs of carriers, you make the group’s website work, you write bylaws, mediate difficult conversations, and drive/walk/bus/train to get where help is most needed. You make groups work.
- You have a passion for helping. You care about what babies expect from their caregivers, and what they need in order to feel better. You care about what caregivers are going through, and what they need in order to feel better.
To me, volunteering means a deeper connection to a broader section of my community, and thus, to humanity as a whole. Giving my time and energy truly benefits me, as well as benefiting others. I’ve become a more open, giving, accepting, and supportive person from my time helping others wear their children. And more of the source of that transformation lies with my fellow volunteers, than with the actual volunteering I do.
Join us as the week goes on as we feature some amazing volunteers nominated by their peers.
Tell us though, what does volunteering in the babywearing community mean to you?
Babywearing International, President