Volunteering is the Best Thing Ever (Aka The Time I Beat Bingo Night)

Last night I taught the first of three memoir writing classes at an assisted living facility near me. I won’t lie, I was BEYOND nervous to teach the class. This was for two reasons: 1.) I’ve never taught anything before and 2.) I didn’t know what to expect. Would the seniors be interested and engaged? Would they even show up? Would they be able to sniff out my lack of teaching experience?

To calm my nerves, I posted on Facebook asking my teacher friends (and former teachers, which was cool) for a little guidance. They all advised me to overplan and to come up with a strategy for approaching the class so I felt more prepared and confident. I did this, and showed up with plenty of handouts and a schedule about exactly how I wanted the class to run. As it turns out I was freaking out for no reason (shocking, I know). I got 10 writers, even though it was ever-popular Bingo Night. They were all very sweet, excited to be there, and eager to share what they had written at the end of the class. Here’s a picture of everyone hard at work:

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Since moving to Charlotte I’ve had the opportunity to do a lot of cool things, but I have to say that this was one of the coolest things I’ve done in a while. I got to hear so many stories about where these people grew up, what it was like living through the Depression or other situations, and the long careers they had. It was such a mix of people too, which made it even cooler. It was two hours of my day well spent.

It’s easy to get caught up with work, activities, dating, etc., but if you want to feel like you’ve maximized your time and done something that really matters (not that your DVR doesn’t matter, of course), I’d definitely recommend volunteering. If you’ve got a skill, I can almost guarantee you that your local nursing home or assisted living facility would love to have you come in and share it with their residents.

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