Each month, the Bloomerang team visits one nonprofit customer to volunteer for a few hours at their facility. It’s our small way of giving back to the missions that our software users support – and a great team-building exercise for our own company culture. This last weekend we visited the Shalom Health Care Center.

This wonderful organization carries the mission of helping help families meet their needs through affordable and accessible health care. So their health care professionals work together and with other providers to ensure that uninsured, underinsured, and low-income Indianapolis residents get the services they need.

Like any other item we do on our days off, in this case a Saturday, we often have many options to choose from. It is such a shame that the thought of volunteering is not always one of them for many in our country. I will not even dive into the ranks of the retired, unemployed and yes, even those who are wealthy enough not to be working full-time where most days are days off. However, if a few of the folks in these groups read this perhaps it just might change their life in some manner!

When I arose last Saturday morning, my mind kept scanning through the multitude of tasks and activities including writing this weekly blog, as I showered and threw some clothes on. Even as I drove across town to where Shalom is located, my thoughts were still centered on my yard work or a Sunday afternoon tennis match. Honestly, there was not much focus on the volunteering activity I would soon be doing or the people I would be helping. Ironically, I have not thought of much else but the people our volunteer efforts helped for the balance of the weekend.

Shalom CenterWe had various tasks assigned to each of us after we checked in at the volunteer tables (there were 75+ total volunteers for the health fair). Perhaps the lady making the volunteers assignments knew what she was doing when she suggested I help register families as they came in or maybe it was just fate. I mention fate because what happened over the next few hours was quite a revelation to me.

View more photos here >>

I first noticed how delightfully patient every family member in the long line to register was. Even the children of literally every age were patient and polite. Most were single parent families, which made me a touch sad when I saw the little children. They came up to the table one family at a time filled with various questions for me to answer. It was during the questions that I was able to look each parent in the eye and connect in some small manner. We both seemed to know they were doing something important for their children with the upcoming wellness screenings, physicals and immunizations. I was delighted to be part of their day of better health.

When I was driving home on that Saturday, I was trying to estimate just how many families and better yet, how many children were helped during the day. I personally felt good about helping. The next day I slipped on my volunteer t-shirt as I went about my afternoon tasks. Every time I glanced down at it I wondered how many of the children may have not been immunized if not for the free health fair.

Read about last month’s trip >>

I urge all of you reading this post to give volunteering for a nonprofit of your choice a try. Personally rewarding combined with the pure joy helping will make you wonder why you are not doing it more often. I particularly like what the little 7th grade girl in the volunteer line just in front of me said. She like me lived out in the suburbs of the city and had journeyed in for the day. He name was Rylee and when I asked her why she volunteering today she simply stated “It felt so good to help last year that I knew I needed to be here again this year!”

Natalie Clifford

Natalie Clifford

Community Manager at Bloomerang
Before joining Bloomerang, Natalie was the Senior Corporate & Private Events Coordinator for WhirlyBall and a Yoga Instructor for Orange Shoe Personal Fitness. She currently volunteers as an Adult Literacy Coach for Indy Reads, and has volunteered as a Commissioner for Special Service Area 27 and Team Leader Serve-a-Thon for Chicago Cares. Now as a Community Manager with Bloomerang, Natalie puts her people skills to good use by by uncovering and nurturing customer satisfaction and success. She ensures that our nonprofit customers start off on the right foot to help increase their impact and further their mission. Natalie holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Marketing and Public Relations from Columbia College Chicago.