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The "Great Dig-in" was a Great Success!

Volunesia : (noun) that moment when you forget you're volunteering to help change lives, because it changing yours......

A couple of months ago, we hosted a volunteer event at Ponds & Plants. Our hope was to clear out one of our overgrown greenhouses and create a clean palate for a raised garden. Next year we will start growing fruits and vegetables to help supplement the daily food supply for our animal friends.

At 9am sharp, the cars started pulling up our notoriously bumpy entranceway. We were blown away by the number of people who chose to spend their day donating their time to this event. Young and old alike, gathered together to push wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow and pull weed after weed from this underutilized space. By the end of the day, we had transformed the jungle of forgotten plant pots, into a clean and clear greenhouse ready to grow into a fruitful environment once again.

Volunteering has many benefits not only to the hosting company, but to the individual who has chosen to dedicate their time to the cause. The United Health Group conducted a survey in 2013 about the benefits of volunteering. They found that........

-76 percent of people who volunteered in the last twelve months said that volunteering has made them feel healthier.

-94 percent of people who volunteered in the last twelve months said that volunteering improved their mood.

-78 percent of them said that volunteering lowered their stress levels.

-96 percent reported that volunteering enriched their sense of purpose in life.

-80 percent of them feel like they have control over their health.

-About a quarter of them reported that their volunteer work has helped them manage a chronic illness by keeping them active and taking their minds off their own problems.

The idea that doing good for others is benefiting oneself, brings volunteering full circle. It was once said that "Volunteering is at the very core of being a human. No one has made it through life without some else's help." (Heather French Henry) We as members of humankind, will continue to help each other. We will grow and support each other and the circle will continue. Just as so many showed up to support our event, we hope to return the favor through the educational services we offer at Ponds & Plants. The gardens we create will be used to demonstrate, to our younger visitors, not only how and what our animal friends eat, but how these nutrients are grown. We hope to use these facilities as tools to educate our youth about the importance of taking care of the world around them and in return it will take care of you.

We at Ponds & Plants also conducted a survey. We found this to be true about volunteering and our volunteers specifically ....... :)

-The individuals who volunteered at our event were highly motivated and giving human beings.

-100 percent of the volunteers at our event thoroughly enjoyed our many "animal encounter" break times.

- 100 percent of the volunteers at our event became lifetime members of the Ponds & Plants family.

- We at Ponds & Plants cannot thank our volunteers enough for the dedication, hard work, selflessness, friendship, and kindness that they showed us as well and our animal friends.

We believe everyone involved reaped the healing power of giving and the benefits of knowing they paid it forward.

One of the hardest concepts we must tackle as young children is the idea of "sharing". We are innately programmed to think of "self" at a young age. Only with time, experiences, social interactions, and guidance do we gain the cognitive development to understand giving, sharing and others social needs.

Volunteering is a perfect example of an experience that can lead to this knowledge. We had several students who participated though a school program. Regardless of the intentions at the start of the day, everyone ended in the same place. No matter if their mother forced them to come or they came to support our overall goal, when the last plant was pulled we were a team who had accomplished something together.

A special thank you to everyone who came out to support us and continues to do so!