Finding Respite in Volunteering
Last year I learned about an organization called PAUSE that provides respite for parents of special needs kids by offering parent night out events. I absolutely understand the need of a parent’s night out and can only imagine the magnitude of that need when you have kids with special needs. And I’m sure it’s not easy finding someone that you trust enough to leave your kids with. I knew that I wanted to get involved, but I also knew that I did not want to volunteer to be a buddy (they provide 1:1 supervision for a child with special needs or sibling during the event). At that time, my youngest was still in preschool so minus the couple of hours that he was in school during the week, I was basically a buddy most of the day, and had been since my oldest was born. I needed a break from being a buddy. So, I volunteered to work at the registration desk. It was the best volunteer gig for me at that time! It was respite for me. It gave me a little break from the evening chaos of dinner, homework, and bedtime at my house, but also made me feel useful. By manning the registration desk I allowed the woman who runs the event to be able to walk around and monitor the entire evening. And it was a lot of fun to greet the parents and children as they came in and just to be part of PAUSE. I think a lot of us want to give back to the community, but we don’t know how. It might take some time to find what is right for you and your current season of life, but it’s out there. A good place to start is volunteermatch.com. Also, here are some volunteer opportunities that may be respite for you and make you feel useful.