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  • Joan Dailey

The Flexible Reward of a Village Volunteer

As National Volunteer Week comes to a close, I’m reminded of an inspirational phrase I once heard: “You can pretend to care, but you can’t pretend to show up.” As someone who works full time and can’t volunteer every week, I like that I can “show up” for the Village on a flexible basis. But what I love even more is how the members invariably show up for me! Let me explain with an example.

Claire is a Village member in my condo community who I met through a volunteer assignment. She keeps several bird feeders near the entrance to her building. “You can come anytime to see the birds here,” she once said, knowing that my pandemic walks had piqued my curiosity in birds. As I passed her building entrance on a walk one day a couple of weeks ago, I noticed a lot of birds at her feeders. I rang her to see if she was home and sure enough, Claire came outside with a bird guide and we had a fun time identifying and enjoying the birds together on a warm spring day.


By “showing up” for me with her smile, good humor and bird guide, Claire created a wonderful spring memory for me. Plus, now I know what a white-breasted nuthatch looks like – and I’ll always think of Claire when I see one!


Joan Daily is a volunteer and member of the Village board.


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