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Jul 11, 201609:23 AMCity Beat

July 2016 Volunteer of the Month

Jul 11, 2016 - 09:23 AM
July 2016 Volunteer of the Month

July 2016 Volunteer of the Month
Kristel Zaring

Please tell us about your volunteering.

Several years ago, an employer I worked for encouraged their employees to be active in the community – they were very much about giving back to our community and encouraged the employees to join three organizations and have a leadership role in at least one of those.  I have always been fortunate to have employers understand the importance of volunteering and getting involved with organizations and actually learn more about our region.

Why do you volunteer? What do you get out of it?
I know it’s cliché, but it feels good to do something good.  It just feels right to help, and when you understand the operations behind a charity and how it can be challenging to serve their clients – the least I can do is pitch in help them reach their goals.  It allows you to appreciate what you have, and I feel blessed to be able to give my time.  In our world, we could use more compassion and support – I can’t always help financially, but the least I can do is donate my time and skill-set to make a positive impact on my community.

Describe the feeling you get from volunteering.
This is hard – I don’t do this for the recognition or as a résumé-builder and not even as self fulfillment. I do it because it’s just the right thing to do.  Humbled – if I’m able to help kids get shoes for their feet, help with fundraising to expand programs that are needed, to fill a void where other donations or grants might not be possible. And see the gratitude from those who work for the organization that they can make it better.

Of all the charitable organizations out there, what is it about The Salvation Army that compels you to volunteer?
The passion and dedication of the staff at the Salvation Army is amazing – they don’t do this for the money, they do it because their heart is in it.  I wasn’t aware of all of the programs they had and the help that they give.  I am truly in awe of staff there.  The amount of time and effort that they put into helping drives me to help where I can.

What would you say to others to encourage them to volunteer at The Salvation Army, as well as any other charity in the area?
Don’t just pick any charity, check out several. Pick the one that you connect with, that you can become passionate about.  Not every organization is a good fit for your personality or skill-set.  Make it count, if you do you will give back so much more to that charity, and that’s what counts.  If you pick something that you are passionate about and believe it, it wont feel like a job or chore.

If you had the power to instantly change one thing in the world, what would it be and why?
I am answering this question less than a week after the night club shooting in Orlando, and it’s so hard to put this into words or explain all the emotions that I have.  I wish it were just this simple: More love, less hate.

Where and with whom do you find inspiration?
I am blessed to be surrounded by amazing people doing amazing things and their passion to make a positive impact in our community drives me to be a better person.  There have been so many people who have touched my life, both personally and professionally, and each experience has made me want to be a better person.

Alive or dead, name one person you’d like to have lunch with and why?
My dad, he has been gone 10 years now, and I would love to talk to him about what we are doing at the Salvation Army and my involvement with the Ladies Auxiliary .  He was a huge supporter of The Salvation Army, and he had my mother promise to never pass a red kettle without putting something in it.  When he was in the Army, the Salvation Army was there to help when no one else would.  I think he would be really proud.

Tell us about your fellow volunteers at The Salvation Army?
As has been mentioned from others within our Women Involved and Shoe Strut Committee, it’s not what you do, it’s who you have doing it.  And this group of women that I am so proud to be a part of give so much time and truly believe we are “Doing The Most Good.”

What is the single most important moment of charity you have ever been a part of or witnessed?
I would have to say the very first Shoe Strut event.  It was 100 days from inception to execution, and we were hoping it would all come together and be a success.  Standing in that room the morning of the event and observing the set up there was just a sense of pride from everyone coming together and putting all they had into that day that just warmed the heart.  And each year after that, I get that same feeling prior to event from the buzz and energy in that room.

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