Eleven years ago, I was living in Detroit with my wife and my newborn son, Sam. My job kept me traveling internationally most of the time. We decided to move back home to DeWitt about 18 months later. My new position would allow me to be home and spend time with my family. Due to the fact that I missed a lot of Sam’s first year of life, I decided that no matter the activity he wanted to participate in, I would be involved. I really wanted to be a dad who took an active part in their child’s life.
My first volunteering opportunity came in the form of coaching youth sports through the DeWitt Parks and Recreation Department. I learned early in my volunteering that all these activities took dedicated people to make these programs successful. I wanted them to be successful so that my kids and other kids could enjoy and learn from these programs. I realized that I would have to put in a few more hours to help. This was especially true with the Cub Scouts. I was not a Cub Scout growing up but Sam wanted to participate. This drove me to learn about the organization and try to make it the best program for the scouts in town.
Another reason I have volunteered is that it has helped me to grow. I am not naturally a social person. I am not comfortable speaking in front of large groups of people. Two opportunities presented themselves to help me feel more relaxed and open to public speaking. I took a chance and volunteered to teach Junior Achievement. It may not seem intimidating to teach kids, but any teacher will tell you that it is a lot harder than it seems. It has helped me to be more confident in speaking in front of people. I also became an ambassador for the DCDC. This forced me out of my comfort zone by having to meet new people and be a face of the community.
I realized through my volunteering that I didn’t just want the programs for the kids to be successful; I wanted to help make the DeWitt community better. I love living in DeWitt. I love raising my family here. I want other people to want to live in DeWitt. These are some of the reasons I jumped at the opportunity to serve on the United Way and DeWitt Hospital Foundation boards. Taking a few hours each month to volunteer with these organizations can make our community a better place to live.
So why volunteer and how would I have enough time to do all these things? The thing is you don’t need to volunteer for everything. If more people volunteer, so much more can be accomplished with little time commitment. Plus, there are so many positives to volunteering: having fun and building relationships with the people you are working with and helping out; refreshing your spirit and mind; the knowledge that what you are doing is benefiting others. I have personally gone to a practice or a meeting feeling stressed out, but after spending an hour or so with kids having fun, I have come back feeling like a new person. Of course the biggest reason to volunteer is to help others; no one can do everything on their own. It takes a committed group of volunteers to make a great community like we have in DeWitt.
Adam Gravert DeWitt Resident & Volunteer