This column provides updates and information about our volunteers and staff, as well as persons in the community. If you have information to share, please call, e-mail or write to AIDS Survival Project (ASP).

We Had a Great Time!

Thanks to all the volunteers and staff who came out for bowling and pizza in April. We had so much fun, and we invite everyone who couldn't join us this year to come out next year.

As always, our volunteers make our success possible. Doug M. helps to make our spring volunteer appreciation bowling event happen each year. We all send Doug a heartfelt "Thank You!" for his contribution.

Why Do You Volunteer?

Any textbook on volunteerism will tell you the main reasons why people volunteer:

  • It brings people together. You get to meet new people and make new friends.

  • It promotes self-growth. You can use your skills and learn new skills.

  • You make a difference. Volunteering makes you feel appreciated and needed. It provides an opportunity to give back what has been given to you.

  • It strengthens our community and breaks down barriers of fear and misunderstanding.

I wanted to know how current, active ASP volunteers would answer this question, so I asked and below are some of the responses. I know we have some of the best volunteers in the metro area, but I didn't expect to receive such thoughtful responses in such a timely manner. Thanks to everyone who e-mailed me their response.

"I love to volunteer because it is not what you give, but what you get in return. Where there might have been despair in the face of one person, to see that replaced with hope is a gift beyond words. Feels good." -- Joe Z.

"I volunteer with ASP as a way of giving back, and out of compassion. You never know where you might find yourself in life, one day it could be my turn! We are one big 'human' family and need each other. I play a very small part, but I feel blessed to be able to play that part, and I applaud ASP and the work done there." -- Joyce

"The reason why I started volunteering was because I had too much time on my hands. I was used to working and my ill health had caused me to become unemployable. Volunteering at ASP gave me back a sense of worth and motivation." -- Thea

"The God I worship demands that we each help the sick, the hungry, prisoners, the helpless and the hopeless, and strangers in need. To do so is to act as if we are helping God. If we fail to do so, we are denying God." -- Ross

"I began volunteering to help others, but the person I helped the most was me. There is nothing more satisfying than giving some of your precious time to others, because it is almost always the best time of your life. The most important work of my life is my service as a volunteer, because it is where I give and receive unconditional love." -- Joe G.

"For me, volunteering at ASP allows me to keep in touch with the HIV community and connect with individuals that I would not otherwise encounter. Being a peer counselor and a THRIVE! facilitator also motivates me to learn more about the impact of AIDS and affords me the opportunity to stay on top of current treatment strategies." -- Doug

"I started volunteering at ASP four years ago when I was beginning a new life for myself. ASP gave me the support and love I needed at that time. That's my reason for volunteering and I'm still here helping the agency anyway I can." -- Antoniette

"The reason why I volunteer -- that is an easy one. It is because of the people that work and volunteer at ASP. There is always a big smile or hug awaiting me when I walk in the door. Everyone is always very appreciative of all our efforts." -- Jan

What I've learned from all of this? People volunteer because they care.

If You Don't Know Where to Start

Most nonprofit organizations welcome the help volunteers have to offer. Ask friends, neighbors or coworkers where they volunteer. Look in your telephone book or on the web for volunteering web sites that match you with volunteer opportunities in your area.

To volunteer at AIDS Survival Project, visit our web site for additional information or contact me, Carmen, at (404) 874-7926 or