Academics say volunteering relieves stress, improves efficiency
I read the greatest study last week that speaks so directly to the experience of being part of the German Village Society.
Researchers from Wharton, Harvard and Yale found that when we volunteer our time, it makes us feel more efficient, and therefore like we are less stressed and hurried.
So, using your time to benefit a cause you believe in -- no matter what other responsibilities demand your attention -- actually helps you organize your time and get more done.
It's that old adage: If you want something done, ask a busy person -- but now backed by top-notch research.
The German Village Society is the recipient of this philosophy every day of the year.
I want to give you some examples, but this is by no means a "naming names" article. I'll forget too many people and the article would run the length of the paper for three weeks.
But I love to think about all of the ways people fit volunteerism into their busy lives.
As I write, George Lekorenos is here contributing his significant technical knowledge to check on our audiovisual, security and telephone systems.
Next door, Trustee Mike Yarbrough is putting together details of our fall development campaign -- even as he is a partner at the Frost, Brown, Todd law firm and is just off a trip to California to welcome a new grandchild.
I recently put out a notice for one of the least sexy volunteer job descriptions you could imagine -- data entry -- and had not one, but TWO people sign up and create regular schedules to help us out.
Bob Furbee is helping us enter membership records dating back to 1970 into our brand-new membership software.
Diana Webster is helping load that same new software with details from our house files.
We have new Monster Bash chairmen. Brittany Kress rounded up her Victoria's Secret teammate Krysti Kalkman, and they reached out to Jake Murray so that all three stepped forward to lead the charge for this sixth annual event.
Just out of the blue. Thought it would be fun (it will!) and really believe in the cause of historic preservation and education, which the event supports.
Monster Bash makes four months in a row of volunteer-led events.
First it was Haus und Garten, staffed by more than 200 volunteers led by chairmen Jan and John Clark.
Then, it was Art Crawl, led by Betty Garrett.
Tea 43206 is a fundraiser for the Fund for Historic Preservation, put on by the uber-busy-lives volunteer duo at the helm of the German Village Guest House -- John Pribble and Darci Congrove.
Friends of Schiller Park Chairwoman Katharine Moore led dozens and dozens and dozens of volunteers through a year's worth of planning and execution of the Bicentennial Ode To Joy event.
None of these are people just sitting around with time on their hands. They have very full lives, but they make time to give back to the Society because they believe in it.
And the good news, if YOU are thinking about joining their ranks, is there is no limit to the big and small ways you can contribute.
Ed Elberfeld and Sandy Kight spent three hours on a Tuesday afternoon hanging an art show for us.
They have the expertise and they lent the time.
Kristie Nicolosi chose to give back to this organization by introducing us to her dear friend and nationally recognized historic preservationist, Rhonda Sincavage.
That introduction allowed us to add on to Tea 43206 and create a panel discussion the night before, featuring Rhonda.
We need tour guides in two-hour shifts. We need volunteers to welcome guests at the Visitors Center in 2-4 hour shifts.
We need people who can snap a photo for us, repair a leaky pipe, help us raise money, maybe PhotoShop an image for us.
So, here's my pitch to you: Feeling stressed? Hurried? Take a break and give some time to the German Village Society.
Whatever your particular talent or interest, we probably have a spot to put you to work and help you feel more relaxed.
The folks at Harvard guarantee these results!
German Village Society Director Shiloh Todorov submitted the Village Notebook column to the ThisWeek German Village Gazette.