Feeling Helpless? Help Someone


voluteerEleven years ago, I found myself sitting in a fundraising committee meeting for an upcoming event that would benefit the childcare center my daughter attended. I was 28 years old, pregnant with my second child, and about to end a nearly decade long corporate career in finance. 

This was my first exposure to the world of volunteerism. I was taken aback by the time and effort and intense dedication these women had. It was like sitting in a finance meeting, except they weren’t being paid, they WANTED to be there, and they were so happy! 

The event was amazing. It was also my first night out after my son’s birth, so anything would have been amazing without a 7-week-old and 19-month-old on top of me – yes, you read that right, lol. The following two years, I found myself as co-chair of this event, helping to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars, and the experience gave me so much more. 

Pre-COVID, we might have naively laughed about how unpredictable life can be. And now, what we know for sure is that everything can change overnight. In this season of life, there is so much uncertainty, and so much that is out of our hands. It’s easy to feel helpless.

My introduction to volunteerism lingered beyond that 2009 event; it led me to PTA co-president, sitting on school committees, and ultimately my role as COO at a Westchester based non-profit. The work we’ve done over the past seven months is what has kept me grounded and grateful through quarantine, through a camp-free summer, and hybrid schooling models. 

If you feel helpless and overwhelmed – whether COVID induced or the general state of the world right now – find someone to help. There are so many people in need right in your backyard.

And by “help,” I don’t just mean money. While money and things are absolutely needed at the moment, people are struggling with connectedness, and there are so many ways to get involved and help our community. Reach out to your favorite non-profit, food pantry, or me! 

There’s something incredibly powerful and meaningful when you step outside of your own circumstances and focus your energy on others. It brings a level of peace and calm and fulfillment that I’ve rarely found elsewhere, and it also changes the world!

And because I couldn’t possibly say it more perfectly, I’ll close with the wise words from the late, great Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg,

“If you want to be a true professional, you will do something outside yourself. Something to repair tears in your community. Something to make life a little better for people less fortunate than you. That’s what I think a meaningful life is – living not for oneself, but for one’s community.”

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Lauren Schwarzfeld was born and raised in Yorktown, and aside from college in Boston and a few months living in New York City, she has spent her entire life in Westchester. She has lived in Mt Kisco with her husband Karl since 2006, where they have three kids, Mia (2008), Jacob (2009), Abigail (2012), and two dogs, Edna (a four-year-old beagle) and Felix (a one-year-old pitbull-lab mix). Lauren is a writer, coach, and leader in community engagement. She helps women rediscover their strengths, passion, and confidence to reclaim their spot in their life and step outside the box of perceived expectations. Her goal is for women to create a future that is authentically and unapologetically their own. As the Chief Operating Officer at (914) Cares, a local non-profit, she combines her business background with a passion for volunteer work and desire to care for the community around her. Connect with Lauren on Facebook or through her website!