My Giving Story
By Joey Babbitt
Being the volunteer coordinator at Stern Grove Festival has been one of the most joyful experiences in my life. I am ashamed to admit that prior to taking this job, I had maybe volunteered once or twice in high school. However, my life changed when I was offered the job and I decided that, in order to better understand what it means to be a good volunteer manager, I would “research” volunteering. I started volunteering with One Brick, the San Francisco SPCA, and a few other local organizations. Volunteering connected me to my community in a way I had never felt before. I was working with like-minded individuals, supporting causes that I cared about, helping organizations fulfill their missions, and becoming a more satisfied and happier person. Each individual who volunteers at Stern Grove Festival has their own reason, and I am constantly inspired by their dedication and stories.
Today, volunteering is one of my favorite hobbies and subjects to talk about (I just became a volunteer ambassador for The San Francisco Bike Coalition, so I literally get to expound on the benefits of volunteering). I strive to improve Stern Grove Festival’s volunteer program, including expanding off-season volunteer activities, which is why I am so proud that we are participating in #GivingTuesday.
#GivingTuesday – A new tradition of generosity
|#GivingTuesday was created in 2012 by New York’s 92nd Street Y in partnership with the United Nations Foundation. The movement was developed as a counter to the focus on consumer spending that accompanies the launch of the holiday shopping season on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Anyone who has witnessed the madness of a 2 a.m. stampede at the mall on Black Friday can tell you that often lost during the “giving season” is the true meaning and spirit of giving.Rather than focus on more spending and buying, #GivingTuesday encourages individuals to engage in philanthropic action on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. It doesn’t matter whether you give your time, your money or your voice; #GivingTuesday is a day to acknowledge and celebrate the spirit of giving back to the community.
This #GivingTuesday, on December 2, 2014, Stern Grove Festival is organizing a day of volunteering at Sigmund Stern Recreation Grove. We are inviting community partners, neighbors, and supporters to participate in park beautification activities. Working with San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department, volunteers will clear creek beds, weed invasive plant species, prune trees and bushes, and help spruce up this treasured park. It’s a great way to get outside, enjoy the park, meet new people, and give something back to celebrate the spirit of giving.
And, who knows, maybe volunteering can become your newest hobby!