May 23

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven. —Ecclesiastes 3:1

Christine French, a senior at the time at George Washington University, was the coordinator of Intervention and Cultural Services at the University’s Office of Community Service. To back up her title, she volunteers at Martha’s Table, an organization that helps at-risk families, My Sister’s Place, which helps domestic violence victims, and RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network), where she serves as a hotline operator.

Back home in Omaha, Neb., she helps out at an interfaith agency that helps high school students develop tools to fight injustice, discrimination, and hate.

Growing up in a Catholic family, service and volunteering were always a part of life.

“I remember my mom driving me to the retirement home when I was in eighth grade to play UNO and Bingo every week,” she recalled. “It was so much fun. My life has been deeply enhanced by service.”

So, what makes Christine such a great volunteer?

“I think it’s that I listen to people. Often, all people really need is someone to listen to them and validate their feelings,” said Christine. “We just want human connection and to know that we are loved and valuable. That is what I can do for others and it’s more important than the fact that I am a hard worker or a critical thinker.” In asking if she has any advice to give to someone interested in volunteering, she answers, “You bet. Do it! It is so valuable.”

Time is such a precious commodity and, thusly, one of the greatest gifts we can give. Whether it’s 4 hours a month or 20 hours a week, the gift of service is never wasted, but maximized.

MIGHTY COUNSELOR, help me to remember that I can do nothing about yesterday or tomorrow, that all I have is today. May I use the gift of today wisely.