Volunteering is defined as an altruistic activity where an individual or group provides services for no financial gain “to benefit another person, group or organization”. I feel it is a great privilege to be able to volunteer in the community that I live in. In sharing a few of my top reasons for volunteering, I hope to encourage others to step out and find the right reasons why you, too can volunteer for teaching agriculture to others.
Making a difference in our community only happens when we reach out of our own worlds and look to see how we can help those around us. For me it was as easy as reaching out at the schools that my daughters attended and asking “Where can I help out”? Once I showed an interest, I was asked frequently to assist in classroom and school activities. I found that many children just wanted to be heard and helped and it made a huge difference in their performance. We may not be able to change the world, but we can make a difference. Saint Teresa of Calcutta once said, “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.” Contribute to a cause you care about and make a difference for even one child.
Use skills you have to help others learn. Learning is fun and when we feel passionately about something, it shows in our actions. Agriculture in the Classroom is one awesome way many volunteers are helping others to learn about agriculture and their communities. By tapping into their own abilities and resources they help teachers add agriculture concepts into ways of teaching math, science, social studies and technology. Agriculture is all around us in Iowa and this makes learning about where we live and how important agriculture is to our community even more interesting and exciting.
Learn new skills as you reach out. I quickly became amazed at the opportunities and abilities I had as I volunteered. I didn’t realize that my willingness to learn with the children would soon ignite a passion to learn more and help more. Today the opportunities are endless and so are the reasons to learn new skills. Did you know that a classroom can ride along with a farmer by using FarmChat®? Students get to see technology as if they were right there in the cab with the farmer. They have many opportunities to learn and see things that they previously would not have had access to.
Why Volunteer? I volunteer because I can. It is just one way I can give to others in ways that seem to give back to me way more than I could ever imagine. Time invested in my community and in seeking to make agriculture real and relevant to young people is a privilege. It is amazing to see the faces of students as they witness soybean seeds crack plaster or corn seeds sprouting. I encourage you to look around your community and see where you can use your skills and passions to make a difference. The first step is always the hardest- but the journey will be worth it . If you are interested in finding out more about Agriculture in the Classroom, please contact Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation at 515-331-4181 for more information.