Nonprofit Work Can Be Exhausting

I’m not sure why, but I had a hard time writing this blog. I started in one direction, and I’ve since re-written it about four different times with four different topics. Then I watched the series finale of one of my favorite shows (RIP, Parks & Rec) and what I wanted to share with you became slightly more clear.

In general, when people hear that I work for a nonprofit, their immediate response is, “Wow, that must be so rewarding,” or “You must love working there.” Don’t get me wrong, it is rewarding and I do love working here. This place is indescribably special. The work we do makes a difference to thousands upon thousands of people, and that’s not something I take lightly.

But in all honesty? Sometimes I find myself frustrated and exhausted with my work, forgetful of why I’m doing it in the first place. Too often I get bogged down in paperwork and dealing with a copier jam and ordering supplies — the word “administration” is in my title, after all — and it is difficult to remember the big picture of what we’re doing and why it’s important.

Enter Leslie Knope. She’s said a lot of quotable things in the tenure of Parks & Rec, but her reason for why she loves public service rang true to me:

“We do it because we get the chance to work hard at work worth doing, alongside a team of people we love.”

Leave it to me to take inspiration from a television show, but there it is. Work hard at work worth doing, with people you love. That’s Giving Children Hope in a nutshell.

The work we do can be difficult. Sometimes it’s physical, sometimes it’s mental, it’s always emotional, and it’s 100% worth doing. Sending cleaning and medical supplies to people fighting Ebola, or clothing to refugees in Lebanon who have nothing, or providing food to a family struggling to make ends meet inspires me. But when I’m up here in the office, sometimes I lose sight of that.

What helps me get through the days when all I see are frustrations are the people working right alongside me — our staff, board, and volunteers. Their dedication and their hearts of love and compassion for the people we serve heals my heart when it’s been worn thin by the mundane.

So even when I’m feeling burnt out or I’m just plain tired of un-jamming the copier, their presence is rejuvenating. Their service to the children and families we serve inspires me and reminds me why I’m here.

You are my team, and it is worth doing this work right alongside you.

Written by: Jessica Rickerts, Director of Administration

Jessica is pictured on the right.

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