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Redefining Myself Through Volunteering

I may not have mentioned this already, but last year my husband and I made the decision that I should leave my job.  Working nearly full time - even telecommuting from home - and raising a child with a husband also working full time was causing a lot of stress on my life and my marriage, but it also wasn't allowing us to raise our child the way that we had hoped.  The transition from paid worker to unpaid servant was difficult.  And, it's still something that I cope with each day.  However, I've found ways to redefine myself not just as a mom, but as a professional with some serious clout!  I became a volunteer.

Volunteers aren't typically thought of as being professional nor building career reputations.  This image is definitely wrong...when you've got the right organization training you.  Several years ago, I made the decision to join the Junior League.  While I originally did this to make friends, this decision has grown into a commitment and a personal development opportunity.  I've been able to test out different opportunities for future resume building and career growth.  I've planned events, developed fundraisers, managed committees, and developed my skills at social networking.  Plus, I've been able to network with women who are still working in the corporate world who may one day provide me an opportunity to return to work if and when it fits into the lifestyle I want for my family.

Volunteering doesn't have to be seen as doing the jobs that no one else wants to do.  It doesn't have to be seen as only involving menial tasks.  The nonprofit sector provides opportunities to develop your corporate skills while making an impact on lives around you...all in the timeframe  that you, as a mom, are able to give.  I have seldomly heard of a volunteer being fired...which means you can test out different areas of work without fear! One of the best parts; however, is that many nonprofits allow you to volunteer - at least in part - with your child present.  So, not only are you developing your potential, but your teaching your child how to help others.  It's a win-win situation!

If you're looking for areas to volunteer, why not check out the Junior League...they're not the same as they were 50 years ago, but a group of amazing, empowered women who are making a true impact in the communities around them.  You can find out more at www.ajli.org or follow me on Twitter @KatieShuck.

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