One of the places I volunteer with is Recovering from Religion. I started volunteering in March 2015, right at the time they opened their hotline. Through my time there I’ve met some good people. We build a bond behind the scenes as we figure out how to best serve the people who contact us. It’s a good team and I am glad I have stuck around. Susi is the volunteer coordinator for Recovering from Religion, though she does wear other hats. Without more fanfare and blabber from me, here is my interview with Susi.
Tell the readers a little bit about yourself to give them an idea of what your life is like outside of the times you are volunteering.
🙂 I can’t say that it’s any different – dedicated, busy, responsible whether volunteering or getting paid! I work full time, raised my kids so we have an empty nest, have a loving relationship which gives me a satisfying personal connection with the same man for over 20 years. I never have enough time to do all the things I want to do. Literally could do RfR as a fulltime career along with writing if I could afford it.
Have you always been a person who volunteered? If you have, has the reason why you give changed?
Can’t say that I’ve always volunteered, but I certainly was a person who always cared and wanted to help in any way that I could. Empathy has been a driving force in me for as long as I can remember. Volunteering became especially relevant after my second son was born. I started with real volunteering after they started school and got heavily involved in the PTA/PTO. And of course in a leadership role right from the get go. Did the President gig for about 10 years. After that, I volunteered locally in our Main Street Board – Promotions and Executive Board, Big Brothers Big Sisters, All Schools Day Events/Parade Board, got involved politically more, and helped with a local women’s and children’s Cancer Support Group, worked on the fundraising committee. Went truly overboard and suffered physically because of it. Now, I’ve realized that I can only do so much, and have chosen what is most important to me and what gives me the most satisfaction.
What sort of volunteer work do you do now?
Recovering from Religion and politics – locally and nationally. I came to RfR because of a friend of mine. Having gone through a bad experience on a previous board, I was real impressed and offered my services, but not hands on, more in the background handling systems, procedures, organizing files, etc. Had gotten pretty burned by politics and head games, and wanted to just “help”. I like being a catalyst for good. So I got involved with setting up the database of volunteers and slowly took on more responsibility. Have been with the organization since 2013, gone through their growing pains with them, but now truly feel like this is the best place for me. It meets all the criteria I have in volunteering my time. The work I’m engaged in is satisfying, it helps others, it’s valuable to society. So for me personally it has enriched my life, but again what touches me the most is the difference I see in the people who reach out to us. Many are struggling so desperately, you can hear it in their voices and their thoughts. When I can leave a chat or call, or see other volunteers touching the lives of others in such a way they come back with more hope or are more positive going forward, THAT is just the coolest!
Tell an experience you had while volunteering.
Something along the line of what left me with a good feeling? Gosh there are so many, but I think the things that stick out with me the most are those where I know I personally made the biggest impact in someone’s life. And I may not even have been directly involved with them individually, but I know that what I did whether it was behind the scenes or part of the group that helped with direct intervention was able to make a positive change for them, that is the best feeling. I like contributing and being a force for goodness, I guess because I know that life is and can be harsh. It’s good to know there is someone out there who cares enough to make things better, whether for me or me for others.
How can readers learn about the organization you volunteer with?
Do you have anything else you would like to share?
I want to thank you for caring the way you do, too! 🙂
Recovering from Religion is always looking for volunteers. They’ve got positions for call or chat agents, online community channel leaders, face to face small group leaders, and more. All volunteers go through training on how to connect with callers, chatters, and how to lead small group meetings. If you feel one of these positions interest you or you would like to learn more, please head over to the following link to sign up:
Or email RfR at this form found here: