SOURCE: Author Lisa Sellman

Author Lisa Sellman

November 10, 2011 11:59 ET

Children's Book Author Says Passion Is the Key to Volunteerism

MINNEAPOLIS, MN--(Marketwire - Nov 10, 2011) - It's one thing to donate your spare time to a cause, but to get the most personal satisfaction out of volunteer work put it to use on something you're passionate about, says Lisa Sellman (, author of a new children's book, "The Legend of the Wolves of Gunflint Lake," that teaches children the value of community service.

"Many of us are wrapped up in work and family, trying to make ends meet, so the idea of volunteering can seem like it's just another 'have-to' on an already crowded calendar," says Sellman, who has volunteered for 16 organizations. "But I know for a fact that if you do it right, volunteering can be a great stress-reliever and a source of true joy in your life."

Here's how:

  • Choose Wisely -- Don't volunteer for an organization just because a family member, friend or co-worker suggests you should -- unless that cause is a personal match. The key to volunteerism is finding something you love. Animal lovers can work at animal shelters or wildlife rescues. For nature buffs, there is no shortage of environmental foundations that need help. Sports enthusiasts can go to community recreation centers and ask about coaching or officiating. Don't choose something that will be a chore; choose something that matters and can be satisfying.

  • Watch Your Schedule -- Don't overload yourself. Make sure the work you are volunteering to do will strike the right balance with your personal and professional lives. Most organizations will take as much time as you offer -- even if it's only a couple hours each week. Volunteering should never supersede responsibilities at home or work.

  • Have Fun -- Helping others is its own reward, but it should never feel like you're making yourself do it. Even the most mundane task can be fun, if managed with a sense of humor and enthusiasm for helping others.

"Volunteerism doesn't have to take over your life," Sellman says. "If you do it right, it will add far more to your spirit than it takes away from your calendar."

About Lisa Sellman

Lisa Sellman is a professional dog trainer and owner of a pet care business who volunteers for a half-dozen charitable organizations. She graduated from Augustana College with a degree in hospital administration and lives in Minneapolis.

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