Epilogue: Heather Murphy

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I don’t know where to begin! Do I start with all the amazing people (dogs and cats too) I met through my Volunteer Odyssey week? Or with the vital services the organizations I volunteered with bring to our community? Or with how great it felt to support these organizations and make a difference? Or with how important it is to make time to volunteer?

Seven organizations in seven days: MIFA, Memphis Medical District Collaborative, Mid-South Spay and Neuter Services, Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, Page Robbins Adult Day Center, Room In The Inn/Peace Lutheran Church, and Dorothy Day House. Dr. Sarah Petschonek and Caroline Borron with Volunteer Odyssey scheduled the perfect week for me based on my interests and causes I’m most passionate about.

I embarked on this journey….this odyssey…to explore the world of non-profit organizations, to see if I would find what I’ve been missing in my career. I was also excited about the chance to help, to make a difference and to find an organization or two I will continue to volunteer with. And, I must admit, while I was very nervous about blogging, I knew I would improve my creative writing skills as a result.

I learned from my odyssey that non-profits need volunteers as much as they need monetary and other donations. Without volunteers, those must vulnerable in our community would lack services they need to survive. As you make your 2017 goals, please find an organization dear to your heart to volunteer with; even if it is for one hour every month. If you need help finding the right organization for you, reach out to the Volunteer Odyssey team. They will help.

For my 2017 volunteer goals, I found an organization or two or seven or eight, including Volunteer Odyssey, I want to volunteer with! I know I can’t support them all. Now it is time to figure out where to focus my volunteer time in 2017.

Anna Ritz is the expert editor who encouraged me to express in my blogs how my experiences opened my eyes. Her feedback was helpful, on-point and allowed me to improve each of my blogs and be more comfortable with sharing my thoughts publicly. I’m even beginning to use Facebook more and more!

And finally, this experience has helped me become more clear as I continue on my path to finding where I belong career wise. Included in the Job Seekers program is a valuable working session with Jen Frank, professional coach. This morning, I shared with Jen my strong desire to do something meaningful. She led me in an exercise that pointed out, very clearly, what my values are. “When you find a role that is in line with your values, you will be successful, you will make beneficial contributions, and you will be happy,” Jen explained.

Empathy, support, getting through this together, optimism, seeing opportunities, respect and being useful are my core values. I’m focusing my job search on opportunities with either for-profit or non-profit organizations that appreciate, thrive on and build teams and establish work cultures with these values.

This has been an experience like no other. The Volunteer Odyssey team provides valuable support to┬ápair volunteers with organizations they will stay with over time. Our support and donations allow this wonderful organization to continue….and expand…. the benefits they bring to our community.

Thank you for following me on this journey. Thank you for volunteering your time to an organization close to your heart. Thank you for the donations you have made to Volunteer Odyssey that have made this experience possible for me. And a huge thank you to those working in the non-profit organizations in Memphis providing crucial services in our community. Your dedication is noticed and appreciated.

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