An Open Letter on Volunteering by Holly Ryan
I am often found sitting at the front desk when you walk into the Southpoint CA clinic. I started volunteering about a year and a half ago. I am now the head receptionist and the volunteer coordinator. I had many reasons to begin volunteering, some of which include: having actual scheduled time every week to interact with adults (after being a stay at home mom for about 5 years), putting my energy into something awesome/paying it forward, and helping out my dear friend Jessica. I had time; she needed help. Total no-brainer.
Since I started I have met such a diverse group of people in different stages of their healing journeys. I know it's totally selfish, but I absolutely love watching people walk out the door just a little bit lighter each time they leave. Everyone I meet is trying to deal with stress and manage pain. I find myself getting attached to people who don't even know my name.
I totally get the community acupuncture “thing”. Seriously. By having this comfortable, recliner-filled open room, and treating multiple people in an hour – suddenly we have an affordable system where people can receive acupuncture as often as they need to without “breaking the bank” and magically it still pays the clinic's bills. Those that need to come in often CAN. No one needs to make the decision to dis-continue taking care of themselves because of ridiculous costs.
Spending time at the clinic now, both as a volunteer and as paid staff, has definitely helped to make space for a whole lot of growth at the clinic. I feel that by helping the clinic be successful, we are able to grow and help more people along the way. We were able to lengthen and add shifts, and we are seeing more full recliners, more people finally finding something that works! It has been an amazing, challenging, and a humbling experience in so many ways. I feel that we have definitely reached another plateau, another opportunity for growth. We would not be where we are now without volunteers. We have a handful of amazing people that have time to donate, and believe in what Southpoint is doing.
Do you want to help your local clinic grow and help as many people as it possibly can? Your local clinic may have volunteer opportunities. You too can look forward to watching everyone float out the door like I do.