Time is your most valuable resource, a mentor told me years ago. It’s really the only commodity that we cannot acquire more of or grow. And for that reason, I learned to value my time as one of my most worthwhile rewards – where and when possible, choosing it over superficial incentive or tangible award.
After years of contributing financially to charitable causes, neither my wife nor I felt especially stretched or moved. We both wanted to give more of ourselves. As a husband, father of three young children, leader in a multi-state real estate brokerage firm, and owner of a relatively new company, I knew that the greatest sacrifice I could offer for the sake of others at this point in my life was my time.
Upon starting my work with Hope Street, however, I immediately recognized that this wasn’t a sacrifice at all. It was an investment – an investment in humanity and in the future. And it has yielded the most prolific of returns.
In 2019, my wife Ashlyn reached out to Ashley at Hope Street and inquired about ways in which we could become involved. That is when we commenced our “Serve Saturdays.” As a family, we spent our Saturdays at Hope Street, cleaning apartments, gardening, disposing of rubbish, and even helping to care for members’ infants. My wife often brought crafting materials and activities for the children at Hope Street and engaged them in entertaining projects and exercises. Our Saturdays with Hope Street opened the door for us to participate further, and we’ve so enjoyed volunteering at the Family Reunion and Women’s Luncheon.
It was at Elmbrook’s Harvestfest when I was serving on a panel to suggest opportunities to volunteer locally, that I was inspired to join the Hope Street Board. During the event, an individual had commented, “we all have help along the way.” That profoundly resonated with me: I would not be where I am – no person I know could be where he or she is – without having received, at the very least, support, guidance, and mentorship. Expressed simply, special people gave us their time. The members at Hope Street deserve help along the way. From that help, they will be able to help another along the way. It’s a beautifully infinite arrangement. Ultimately, each of us has the opportunity within us to change the trajectory of someone’s life. The members at Hope Street have already changed mine, and I take joy in knowing that I am involved in changing theirs and can watch them eventually change others’.
The return on my investment is obvious. But it is so much broader and deeper than simply feeling a sense of fulfillment from giving of my time. This minimal investment of my time has the potential to yield generations’ worth of a return: I see it in how the Hope Street members will pay it forward, and I see it in my own children. Immersing my children into this experience is highlighting for them that we all need a little help along the way, and I would love nothing more than to watch them share their time, talent, and treasure to provide that help.
I invite you to share your time, talent, and treasure to provide that help along the way, and to be a part of changing the trajectory of so many lives.
(Hope Street Board Member and Volunteer)