The Kaplow Wellness Squad incentivized employees in the month of August to volunteer with an organization of their choosing for an additional day off! Not only do I feel better when I volunteer, but it also feels good to be recognized by my employer for doing good deeds outside of the office.
With jam-packed professional and personal lives, it’s easy to get caught up in routine and feel like life is passing you by. For me, the most rewarding and the most effective way to give myself a reality check has been getting outside of my small world by helping others. For the past year and a half, I have been involved with New York Cares, a great organization that allows you to volunteer as often or as spontaneously as you’d like on numerous projects in the area. I tend to be drawn to anything that involves playing sports with kids. This past weekend, I volunteered through New York Cares with a program called KEEN, where volunteers swim one-on-one with special needs kids ages 6 and up.
At first, I wasn’t sure what to expect. However, my fears of not being entertaining or patient enough were quickly quelled as my first kid immediately got into the pool, climbed on me and used me as a launching pad to shoot himself into the shallow end. From there, it was smooth – and yes, exhausting – sailing. We played water games and talked about going back to school and what music they listened to (for the record, One Direction is in, and you need to listen to “Everything About You” immediately). By volunteering with special needs kids, I learned that I am more patient than I thought. I also loved that I was able to make a child’s afternoon by splashing around with them and encouraging their social skills.
In a busy city like New York, it’s easy to get irritated over missed subways, crowded streets and late hours clocked at the office. Taking a little time out of your day to focus on someone else and not worry about the daily grind is a great way to get out of a boring routine (that you probably take too seriously!) and serves as a happy reminder that it takes almost nothing, other than you showing up and giving your time, to make someone else’s day.
Learn more about KEEN and New York Cares in this video: