Elevate Difference

Change the World, Change Your Life: Discover Your Life Purpose Through Service

Change the World, Change Your Life materialized as the author, Angela Perkey, reflected on how to help others find personal and community connections through donating one’s time. In her formative years, Perkey’s parents instilled in her the importance of volunteering and making a time commitment to help others. Thus, she spent time volunteering in various ways, and the most memorable volunteer experience to her was when she spent time painting the toenails of elderly women in a senior center.

Although she knew that she was providing companionship, she wasn’t wholly invested in the experience. As she got older, she realized she wanted to find volunteer experiences that matched her passions and interests, as well as find an opportunity to volunteer where her talents could be most utilized. Perkey discovered in college that she wanted to form an organization where students could apply for grants to fund their own service projects, and from this, Students Serve, Perkey’s nonprofit, was formed.

In Change the World, Change Your Life, Perkey advocates on how to find a type of giving that matches with one’s goals in life. At one point in the book, Perkey points out that, in reality, most organizations have failed because they have not succeeded in what they have aimed to do, such as eradicating hunger or providing an equal education for all students. Her brashness is a way to emphasize the fact that there are multiple problems which need solving and that maybe we are the ones to solve them.

Perkey also wants her readers to realize that we should be selective in choosing where we give our money and spend our time; in other words, we should think about what a volunteer opportunity is going to do for us as well as what we will be doing for the organization. Will we be happier as a result of the time we spend volunteering? Will we come home invigorated, so that our positive energy is felt by those around us? Perkey points out that only when we feel that we are making worthwhile contributions to our society will we be truly spurred on to continue our efforts, and only then will we be able to really help the causes to which we are dedicated. Furthermore, she creates many guiding questions which are meant to help her readers find the volunteer opportunities that will be the most fulfilling and rewarding, and have the most impact on those we are serving.

If an individual is not already volunteering her or his time to an organization, there are probably a plethora of reasons why she or he will start this important work in the future and not today. I have wanted to volunteer for years, yet my work and home schedule always seemed so hectic, and I couldn’t imagine fitting volunteering into my schedule. Then I had kids, and I wasn’t sure what service opportunities were available for families to do with their children. After starting Perkey’s book, I made a call to a local Meals on Wheels organization. I asked them if I could volunteer with my children, and sure enough, the following week I started taking meals to senior citizens in my town with my four year old and seven month old in tow.

That was a month ago, and now I am wholeheartedly enjoying spending a few hours each week volunteering due to Perkey’s straightforward guidance and gentle prodding to take action sooner rather than later. Any book that can motivate people to take action should be shared, and I’ll happily recommend this to anyone who is looking for a way to become involved in her or his community.

Written by: Kirsha Frye-Matte, July 6th 2010

Thanks Kirsha, I enjoyed this review.