BYU Women’s Conference Resources for Everyone: Service Opportunities
I have had the amazing opportunity over the past few years to be involved in the service aspect at BYU Women’s Conference. Whether I have been a participant, a project leader, or on the service subcommittee, my life has been blessed. Participation in these projects has lit the fire of service in me. I can’t look at a bolt of fleece or hear of a food drive without feeling a sense of urgency for how much service is needed in this crazy world of ours. There is definitely a type of “high” you get through serving and I love looking for those opportunities. I hope that as you read this, you will have a desire to find somewhere or someone you can serve. Take a minute to go to the BYU Women’s Conference website, search through their service tutorials, make a phone call to one of your local agencies, and get to work. I promise your life will be enriched and blessed by serving others. I am excited to share with you BYU Women’s Conference Resources for Everyone: Service Opportunities.
Service at BYU Women’s Conference started back in 1999 when the BYU Women’s Conference staff decided it would be a wonderful opportunity to have conference participants give 1999 hours of service during the conference. A large evening of service was organized and held that year. The number of volunteer hours far exceeded their goal of 1,999 hours. I remember being there that year with my mom and my aunt participating in various humanitarian projects, and it truly lit a fire inside of me for service. In the year 2000 another large service event was planned during BYU Women’s Conference at the BYU cougar stadium, and it again far exceeded any expectations. I remember participating again that year, tying quilts and helping pack hundreds of hygiene kits! I was overwhelmed to see how much good was being done by so many women in such a short amount of time. I didn’t want to leave. It was not long after this event that the General Relief Society began to co-sponsor BYU Women’s Conference and the service aspect of the conference was here to stay. It was and is definitely a match made in heaven!
With the help of the BYU Women’s Conference staff and the service subcommittee, various service projects are carefully planned and prepared for the upcoming conference. With the help of many volunteer project leaders, volunteer service teams, and the Women’s Conference participants thousands and thousands of handmade items are donated every year to various organizations throughout the state of Utah after the conference is finished in May.
For the nine months before the conference a service committee works tirelessly contacting multiple agencies throughout the state of Utah to see what they need. The service aspect of Women’s Conference truly teaches us to respond to Sister Linda K. Burton’s plea to “First observe, then serve.” Women are encouraged to go back to their communities and to find out what the needs are in their areas and then to put a plan into action for how they can best fulfill those needs. It is very easy for all of us to think of something we would like to do (or that is easy for us to do) and then find someplace we might be able to take our project, but it’s definitely more rewarding to see what the needs are first and then to help fulfill those needs.
Here are some examples of the types of agencies who are always in need of supplies, small gifts, volunteers, or donations.
So now that you know the types of places that are always looking for volunteer or service opportunities look one up in your area that interests you and see what you can do to help. Ask to speak with their volunteer coordinator or someone who would be in charge of service opportunities. Almost every organization has someone who is in charge of donations and volunteers and they usually are more than willing to give you ideas of things they need, or ways you can help out.
On the BYU Women’s Conference website you can find projects and the project tutorials/instructions for projects that have been done over the years at BYU Women’s Conference. This is an amazing resource that can be found at http://womensconference.ce.byu.edu/service. I would encourage you to look through the list of projects that have been completed to get an idea of what agencies are looking for. It may be that the agencies you contact are looking for these types of donations and this website includes detailed instructions on how to get the project completed! It is a great resource for family service projects, youth activities, scouts, neighborhood or ward activities, or even for small projects you can complete on your own and donate as they are finished.
I have a friend who is an elderly woman and can’t get out of the house much. She spends a lot of her time at home and wanted to find something fulfilling in her life with which to fill her time. She is a very talented knitter and found a need at a local children’s hospital for knitted infant hats. I am sure she was directed and inspired to accomplish such a wonderful thing for so many small infants and their parents. She is blessing the lives of others and also filling her life with happiness while doing it.
This is one of my very favorite quotes. I know we are put on this earth to love and serve each other. I hope this post has inspired you to look for ways to serve and then to act on them. I know it will bless your life as well as the lives of those you serve. HAPPY SERVING!