Wendy Poling
Frequent Contributor

One of the best ways I find to get through a long deployment is to volunteer and help others. My mood brightens and the distraction of giving back is always more fun and rewarding than I ever thought possible. If you're not quite sure where to start, this post will help.


Step One:


You'll need to determine just where you should volunteer your time.

Sit down with your journal and write down all the things you enjoy doing, all the things you are good at and tasks where you find time flies. By choosing to share your unique strengths and skills, you'll make the biggest impact in someone's life. If your not sure what you enjoy doing, sometimes by listing all the things we do not enjoy doing can clarify what we DO enjoy. A great example of what not to do: if you do not enjoy small children, do not volunteer to watch your neighbors three kids under six years old while she goes to the commissary. If however, you want to be a Kindergarten teacher one day this would be a better fit!


Step Two:


Make a list of all the possible ways to volunteer and share your skills. 

Here is a list of 4 possible ways to strategically volunteer to get you started:


  • Become active in your Family Readiness Group (FRG). Join one of the many committees or start one! Example: Fundraising, Events, Homecoming, Hospitality, etc. By sharing your special skills, you can participate in making your command great.
  • Get involved in your local church. Do you love teaching kids? Consider being part of "kids church" as an instructor. If you have graphic design skills, consider how you might help the Media Team, or if you love to bake how you might be part of the Welcome or Greeter Team.
  • Youth Sports Coach or Team Mom – Successful military families get out and still enjoy life while mom or dad is deployed. If you have kids, sign them up for a youth sport and volunteer as the coach. You can also help by organizing team practices or the create snack schedule, don't shy away. Considering grabbing a whistle and volunteering your time on the pitch!
  • Teach a class – Do you have a unique skill or hobby? Share your knowledge by teaching a workshop to the spouses in your local command. Family Readiness Groups are always looking for guest speakers. Topics might include: Easy Photography Tips, Save Big by using Coupons, How to Plant a Herb Garden. The possibilities for topics are endless. You might also consider leading a Bible Study through your base chapel.


Remember to treat your volunteer time like a real job. It's important that you are on time, prepared, and keep a positive attitude.


Good luck and let me know how you decide to give back to others by sharing your unique talents and strengths!