May 24, 2018

Op-Ed: High Hopes Suggests MLK Day is Appropriate Day to Think About Giving Back to Your Favorite Non-Profit, Hosts Volunteer Orientation 4-7 Today

With the arrival of Martin Luther King Day today, it is worth looking back on the question Martin Luther King Jr. asked of an audience in Montgomery, Ala., in 1957, when he said, “What is life’s most persistent and urgent question?”

Consider that question right now and what your answer would be?

  • How can we achieve world peace?
  • Is global warming real?
  • Which college shall I choose?
  • Is life really a race to nowhere?
  • What is the number 42?

For Martin Luther King, the answer to this question was quite simple: ““What are you doing for others?”

So, in acknowledgement of Martin Luther King Day, High Hopes challenges you to answer that question with a pledge of a specific number of volunteer hours to a local non-profit.

A pledge is a promise, a promise to yourself, to the non-profit and to the many thousands of people who depend on Connecticut’s non-profits every day for human and social services, for therapy and comfort, for clothes and food, sanctuary and safety. By writing down your pledge, it becomes more real, more urgent, more of a commitment, and more achievable than a New Year’s resolution or an unspoken intention at some time in the future.

Choose an organization that speaks to your soul.

We would love you to volunteer at High Hopes, and whatever your future career interest, we can promise a rewarding experience. But wherever you decide to pledge your time, make sure that the organization’s mission speaks to your soul.

At High Hopes, we say “Volunteers give something of themselves and receive back another person’s hopes and dreams.” But while looking for a suitable quote for this piece, we came across this definition taken from the International Volunteer HQ – Volunteer Abroad Pinterest Board(n:) Volunesia – the moment when you forget you’re volunteering to help change lives because it’s changing yours.

Experiencing Volunesia is something we hear again and again from our volunteers.

Our therapeutic equine assisted activities operate year-round, six days a week from morning until evening. Our staff and volunteers work together, forming a vital team that is essential to our ongoing success. Individual reasons for volunteering may differ, but giving of oneself and forming special connections with people and horses creates a common bond for everyone involved in our program.

We could not operate without our volunteers and our needs are many. Our volunteers are all ages, genders, creeds, and ethnicities. Volunteering is giving freely, conscientiously and predictably of your time, but that does not mean to say that you will not benefit just as much, if not more than you give.

High Hopes is a center of excellence for Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies, as well as recognized for its high standard of non-profit management. Trainee Instructors travel from around the world to receive a High Hopes’ Education (we currently have trainees from Bosnia and Australia!) We extend that training to our volunteers through enrichment activities and subsidized training events.

For high school students, we offer an excellent way of demonstrating on-going volunteer commitment. Just one hour volunteering each week is considered of value by college admissions officers. For our participants, it will give them the confidence of a familiar volunteer face each week.

If you are involved in sports and can only volunteer during the summer – that’s no problem. Summer is one of our busiest times when we run five individual weeks of all-abilities, community-focused summer camp, as well as disability-specific programs.

For college students, we know that the experience gained at High Hopes is second to none for those wanting to enter the fields of Early Childhood Education, Human Growth & Development, Nursing, Medicine and Professions Allied to Medicine.

For many of those who have served in the armed forces or are retired, maintaining a connection or continuing to give back is a vital part of staying physically and mentally active.

For homemakers, seasonal visitors and homeschoolers, High Hopes’ flexible programs enable you to commit to a volunteering schedule that suits you, enables you to get out of the house, and build a new and supportive social network.

Ready to learn more?  Then you can make a volunteer pledge to High Hopes at this link or join us for one of our General Orientation and Side-walker Training Sessions on any of these dates:

Monday, Jan. 15: 4 to 7 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 3: 1 to 4 p.m.
Saturday, March 10: 1 to 4 p.m.
Saturday, April 14: 1 to 4 p.m.
Saturday, May 5: 1 to 4 p.m.

Or join us for a Volunteer Open House on Saturday, March 17, between 10 a.m. and noon. Take a tour of High Hopes, meet our team, talk to an existing volunteer, watch a lesson or discuss a volunteer schedule to suit you.

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