UK: Proud to be a Volunteer: 5 Reasons Why it Might Suit You Too

UK: Proud to be a Volunteer: 5 Reasons Why it Might Suit You Too

Earlier this week I wrote a gratitude post to share on my personal blog and I was really struck by a tweet someone sent me in response.  It said “what an inspirational post, I need to do more good in the world” and it really got me thinking. We all need to do more good in the world. You only have to watch the news to realize there is a lot that needs doing but I think I might be preaching to the converted here as the crux of World Moms Network has always been to pull together mothers from around the world to share their experiences of parenthood and fighting for social good and human rights.

You never know though, there could be a mother reading this who has a real passion for the poor, is gifted at befriending or wants to ensure equality for all people but hasn’t yet had the opportunity or confidence to step out and do something practical. So this post is for you, to challenge you and to encourage you. Becoming a volunteer might not be the easiest thing you have ever done but I am totally sure it will be one of the most worthwhile.

This last week I have worked on a voluntary basis six days out of seven for four different charities. I’ve worked in reception and bookings for a Christian conference centre, sorted food at a warehouse and packed bags of supplies at the local Food Bank, coached a young boy who is on the cusp of exclusion from school and cooked breakfast at the homeless shelter. How many of these things are related to my day job or the work I trained to do? Very few but here I am doing them anyway.

It’s not usual for me to do quite so much voluntary work in one week and I’m certainly not advocating that you start out doing so much, it is just the way it worked out this week and they all fitted around my children being at school or my husband being home with them. That is one of the big benefits of volunteering, it is so flexible. I don’t have to give a full day, it was enough to do two hours at the night shelter this morning, that meant twenty men and women had a hot breakfast before they went back out into the freezing cold today.

A sense of satisfaction
“But why?” You might ask. “You have three school-aged children, paid writing work to complete, two blogs to manage, church responsibilities to take care of, friends to see and a house to upkeep Michelle, why do you need more?” The simple answer would be that I don’t, there is lots in my life but I love to be busy and I have a very strong work ethic. It is totally the right thing (for my family) for me to be available for the kids out of school but forgive me, it doesn’t always stretch or fulfill me in the way that paid out-of-the-home work used to so this was the initial reason I got into volunteering.

I’m giving back
Also since becoming a Christian fifteen years ago I have a heightened awareness of just how blessed I am to live in the UK and to have a comfortable life with great family and friends. I truly believe that all people are equal and therefore it goes without saying that I just can’t stand the inequality we see in the world.

I desperately want to change things and be able to feed all those starving across the world but actually I don’t have the skills to do that so I have to make sure I am taking my small footsteps and joining together with other generous and compassionate people to make ripples that can longer term become waves of change.

It challenges me
Not just change elsewhere in the county or world though, there has been change in me too, both in terms of my skills and also my mind-set. I’m ashamed to say that before I started volunteering with the Food Bank a few years back I had no idea just how difficult life is for some people. It is easy to assume that those living off our British benefits system want to be doing so and might even be milking the situation. Over the last couple of years I have learnt that I cannot judge anyone, we all have different journeys and you are only qualified to comment when you have been there.

Personal Development
If you, like me are a mother taking time out of your career right now to be more family orientated then volunteering is a wonderful way to continue with your personal development. Most industries now want to see evidence at interview that you have been keeping up to date and developing your skills. Through my volunteering at the food bank and night shelter I have increased my compassion, ability to talk to anyone and my willingness to do the grotty jobs. Then my work at the conference centre has helped with my patience and working with characters who may not share the same views as me and my volunteering as the coach coaching a vulnerable child has helped with my own parenting in regards to having fun together, really listening and setting boundaries.

I’m sure you can tell I love my voluntary work and there is so much out there that you can do. My heart is for the poor and that is the reason I undertake most of my voluntary roles but you might be passionate about animals, wanting to help those you are bereaved or on fire for protecting the environment. I just urge you today to take ten minutes on your computer and see what local volunteering opportunities there are that might suit you.

Go on, I think You’ll enjoy it! Mich x

Do you volunteer?

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Michelle Pannell who can normally be found writing at Mummy from the Heart and Progress Not Perfection.

Michelle Pannell

Michelle’s tales of everyday life and imperfect parenting of a 13-year-old boy and 9-year-old twin girls and her positive Christian outlook on life have made her name known in the UK parenting blogosphere. Her blog, Mummy from the Heart, has struck a chord with and is read by thousands of women across the world. Michelle loves life and enjoys keeping it simple. Time with her family, friends and God are what make her happiest, along with a spot of blogging and tweeting, too! Michelle readily left behind the corporate arena but draws on her 25 years of career experience from the fields of hotel, recruitment and HR management in her current voluntary roles at a school, Christian conference centre, night shelter and food bank. As a ONE ambassador, in 2012 Michelle was selected to travel on a delegation to Ethiopia with the organisation to report on global poverty and health. Then in 2014 she was invited to Washington, DC, where she attended the AYA Summit for girls and women worldwide. When asked about her ambassadorship with the ONE Campaign, she stated, "I feel humbled to be able to act as an advocate and campaigner for those living in poverty."

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NEW JERSEY, USA: A Few Lessons Learnt . . .

NEW JERSEY, USA: A Few Lessons Learnt . . .


Sometimes, being kind hearted can bite you in the butt, you know. I’m not advocating to not be kind. But just be aware that sometimes, you get more than the satisfaction of having helped a cause. You get a nagging child who won’t let you be until you surrender. (more…)

Nadege Nicoll

Nadege Nicoll was born in France but now lives permanently in New Jersey with her family. She stopped working in the corporate world to raise her three children and multiple pets, thus secretly gathering material for her books. She writes humorous fictions for kids aged 8 to 12. She published her first chapter book, “Living with Grown-Ups: Raising Parents” in March 2013. Her second volume in the series just came out in October 2013. “Living with Grown-Ups: Duties and Responsibilities” Both books take an amusing look at parents’ inconsistent behaviors, seen from the perspective of kids. Nadege hopes that with her work, children will embrace reading and adults will re-discover the children side of parenthood. Nadege has a few more volumes ready to print, so watch this space…

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SOCIAL GOOD: World Moms Social Good Fellows & #Blogust Bloggers

SOCIAL GOOD: World Moms Social Good Fellows & #Blogust Bloggers

We are so proud that three World Moms have been selected this year to be United Nations Foundation Social Good Fellows and to take part in #Blogust to benefit Shot@Life.  Two other World Moms also wrote posts for #Blogust as Shot@Life Champions.  #Blogust is a social good relay sponsored by Walgreens to benefit the United Nations Foundation’s Shot@Life campaign which provides life saving vaccines to children around the world.

World Moms Blog Social Good Fellows

World Moms Advocating for Global Health: Nicole Morgan from “Sisters from Another Mister”, Jennifer Burden (World Moms Blog Founder), and Nicole Melancon of “Thirdeyemom” will all be heading to NYC this September as Social Good Fellows with the UN Foundation.

Every child deserves a Shot@Life, and we at World Moms Blog are thrilled to be able to use our voices for social good. Each day for the month of August one writer will share their story of Happy & Healthy Firsts.  Every time a post is commented on or shared on social media a vaccine is donated by Walgreens to a child in need. We encourage you to read, comment on, and share our posts, and know that when you do, you are using your voice for social good as well.

United Nations Foundation Social Good Fellows & #Blogust Bloggers:

Nicole Morgan on the Shot@Life Blog:  “Honored and humbled to be among 25 Social Good Fellows chosen by the United Nations Foundation and shot@life for Blogust 2014 because social good is dear to my heart and teaches my girls to pay it forward. Accountability and looking out for others is part of day to day parenting.” Read More…

Jennifer Burden on World Moms Blog:So, tell me now, have you ever experienced any “firsts” growing up that were better than you ever expected or were highly impressionable on who you are today?  Many highly anticipated first experiences often come and go forgotten or don’t really mean anything today in retrospect, right?  But, here’s a story of one first in my life that made an impact, and I admit to even going back for more!  It’s not chocolate, but could have been chocolate, but no, it wasn’t.” Read More…..

Nicole Melancon on the Shot@Life Blog: “We all remember the firsts: those monumental moments that shape your life and those around you. The moments that take your breath away. The first word. The first step. The first “I love you”. The first day of school. The first kiss. The first goodbye. Firsts that impact our journeys down the long and sinuous path of life.”Read More…..

Shot@Life Champions:

Sarah Hughs on Finnegan and the Hughes: “Today is my birthday!  It’s a big day and my last year before I start a new age group, 40 and up!  It’s my first time ever turning 39.  I think 39 is a milestone.  I have heard many that claim to have turned 39 over and over again. It’s funny how they never get to 40.  I’m ok with the big 4-0 and have decided I will celebrate and be proud of 40 because that is a huge milestone!” Read More…..

Elizabeth Atalay on Documama: “This is my first time. My first time letting go. My oldest child goes off to school in another state next week, and I have to admit, I’m having a tough time with that. The thought that for the first time in her life she will not be living under our roof. For the first time I have to trust her to the outside world. For the first time I won’t be right there for her for whatever she needs, and let’s face it, I can’t check on her whenever I need for my own piece of mind.” Read More….

Nicole Morgan on Sisters from Another Mister: “Blogging has blessed my life more than I ever could have imagined. It started as a way to kill time while waiting on my younger homeschooler, in lieu of my then obsession with Farmville … (and OMGawsh reading thro the comments from that post reminds me of the great friendships born) altho as for games, now whisper quietly”. Read More…

Nicole Melancon on ThirdeyeMom: “I’m honored that my Shot@Life post “Blogust: Reaching Firsts and Making a Difference” is live today on the United Nations Foundation’s website. Blogust is a month-long digital dialogue, bringing more than 25 of the most beloved online writers, photo and video bloggers and Shot@Life champions (me!) together to help change the world through their words and imagery throughout the month of August. For every comment and/or social media share, Walgreens will donate one life-saving vaccine to a child in need around the world.” Read More…


World Mom, Cindy Levin, the Anti-Poverty Mom, has an appointment this week with US Representative Wagner’s Office in Missouri this week to lobby for life-saving vaccines. Way to put things into action, Cindy!!

During Shot@Life’s Blogust 2014—a month-long blog relay—some of North America’s most beloved online writers, photo and video bloggers and Shot@Life Champions will come together and share stories about Happy and Healthy Firsts. Every time you comment on this post and other Blogust contributions, or share them via social media on this website, Shot@Life and the United Nations Foundation pages, Walgreens will donate one vaccine (up to 60,000).  Blogust is one part an overall commitment of Walgreens donating up to $1 million through its “Get a Shot. Give a Shot” campaign. The campaign will help provide millions of vaccines for children in need around the world. Today’s #Blogust post is by our friend and photographer Anne Geddes!

Elizabeth Atalay

Elizabeth Atalay is a Digital Media Producer, Managing Editor at World Moms Network, and a Social Media Manager. She was a 2015 United Nations Foundation Social Good Fellow, and traveled to Ethiopia as an International Reporting Project New Media Fellow to report on newborn health in 2014. On her personal blog,, she uses digital media as a new medium for her background as a documentarian. After having worked on Feature Films and Television series for FOX, NBC, MGM, Columbia Pictures, Warner Brothers, 20th Century Fox, and Castle Rock Pictures, she studied documentary filmmaking and anthropology earning a Masters degree in Media Studies from The New School in New York. Since becoming a Digital Media Producer she has worked on social media campaigns for non-profits such as Save The Children, WaterAid,, UNICEF, United Nations Foundation, Edesia, World Pulse, American Heart Association, and The Gates Foundation. Her writing has also been featured on, Johnson & Johnson’s,,, and Elizabeth has traveled to 70 countries around the world, most recently to Haiti with Artisan Business Network to visit artisans in partnership with Macy’s Heart of Haiti line, which provides sustainable income to Haitian artisans. Elizabeth lives in New England with her husband and four children.

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WORLD VOICE: Raising Volunteers

WORLD VOICE: Raising Volunteers

Dad Walking with Kids

I have always joked that one day both my kids will whine in unison, “Enough with the developing world, can’t we just go to Disney?”  I am pretty sure that will happen.  But in the meantime, by traveling together I hope to show them that there are people in need and that we have the power to give a helping hand.

Volunteering has always been a part of my life.  From a young age, I dished out food at local soup kitchens and baked and collected for drives and sales.   I saw and smelled people living in my own community who didn’t have enough to eat or a place to take a shower.  It wasn’t always pretty but, as a kid, I felt good knowing that I could help.

My first international volunteer experience was magical: nine months on the Thai-Lao border, as a newlywed, teaching community college students.  What a life changer.  It was the first of many trips that left me feeling that I got the better end of the bargain: a rich, meaningful experience, an opportunity to learn about a new place, people, and most of all, myself.

This is one of things that I want to share with my kids about volunteering: you give but you get even more. Sure you might find yourself in uncomfortable physical circumstances, but you get to experience a new place in a unique way and make human connections that will change you forever.

Woman Carrying Baby


I am also ingraining in them the need to be respectful of those you are assisting.

In my work with, I face the need to balance my Northern Hemisphere take-over instinct with the knowledge that lasting change must be embraced by local people.  We are indeed privileged with access to education and wealth, but we don’t have all the answers.  We must keep our eyes and ears open, to really hear what people are saying and then work together to bring about positive change.

Have you volunteered with your kids?  Did you feel like your family received just as much as you gave?

This is an original post by World Moms Blog contributor, Kristyn Zalota, in Guatemala. 

Photo credits to the author.

Kristyn Zalota

Kristyn brings her years of experience as an entrepreneur and serial volunteer to She holds a MA, has run small businesses in Russia and the US, and has volunteered in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Uganda on projects related to women’s empowerment. After having children, Kristyn became an advocate for mothers in the US, as a doula and Lamaze educator, and abroad, as the Founder of She is honored to provide nurses in Laos with the supplies, funding and training they need to lower maternal and infant mortality rates in their villages.

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NEW YORK, USA: Giving Back

When I was younger, I was very involved in volunteer work.  In high school, I worked with a group of students that visited patients in hospitals, nursing homes, and raised money for cancer research, among other things.  I continued this tradition of service in college, spending time tutoring kids from a local youth group, working on home repairs at a local Habitat for Humanity house and participating and leading Habitat for Humanity Collegiate Challenge service trips to Meridian, Mississippi and Covington, Louisiana.

There is truly nothing that can describe the feeling of service, especially in a setting where you get to meet the families that you are helping and work alongside them building their new homes!  As a young lawyer, I was always mindful of pro bono opportunities and ensured that it always made up a certain percentage of my work hours each year.  (more…)

Allison Charleston (USA)

Allison is a 35-year-old attorney-turned stay at home mom. This New York City mom lives on the Upper East Side of Manhattan with her 2-year-old son, Chase, and her husband, Andy. She is also expecting baby #2! In her former life, she was an attorney practicing in a mega firm on NYC’s Park Avenue, putting in long hours, working hard and reveling in the fast pace of her life. She loved living in “the city”, and when she could, she took advantage of all it had to offer. But, when Chase was born over 2 years ago, that all changed. These days, the work has changed from writing legal briefs to changing diapers and the hours are longer, but she wouldn’t have it any other way! Allison is enjoying her adventures as a metropolitan mommy, raising Chase in New York City and has gained strength from her longer-than-she-wanted-to-wait journey getting pregnant with her second child.

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