The holidays can be a major trigger for couples who have experienced years of infertility. The first few years aren’t so bad, but after a while – answering the same questions over and over, hearing the same well-meaning platitudes or (worse) words of advice can become unbearable.
Holiday spirit? Bah humbug!
Take a Break From Holiday Traditions and Serve Others This Holiday Season
Are you feeling pretty Scrooge-like this season? We recommend reading, IVF and the Holidays: 10 Tips to Make Things Easier, where we provided two handfuls of solutions for getting through “the most wonderful time of the year” unscathed. Number 2 on that list is “Bail Out!” where we recommend couples take a year off from traditional family events to escape somewhere on their own – somewhere, “far away from nosy people.”
This year, take Number 2 in a different direction. Instead of heading to a cheap destination vacation spot, why not stay home and volunteer for some of the many organizations here in the Overland Park and Kansas City areas that desperately need your help this time of year?
5 Holiday Volunteering Opportunities in the Overland Park Area
In addition to helping others, volunteering comes with its own slew of benefits, including increased feelings of well-being, uplifted spirits and a greater sense of social connection and community. So, do yourself and others a favor; contact one of these local organizations and find out how you can lend a hand.
- Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens. This might end up doing you as much good as it does the community since volunteering here gives you free entrance and access to one of our areas most beautiful locations. The Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens includes extensive gardens, pathways, nature trails and eco-systems – the bulk of which are maintained by volunteers. This time of year they also host the Holiday Luminary Walk, and that requires lots of extra helping hands. Contact the Arboretum directly at 913-685-3604 and let them know you’re ready to help out.
- The Johnson County Christmas Bureau. Each year, more than 3,000 community members volunteer their time to help nearly 15,000 low-income residents “shop” for the foods, home goods and gift items for their children and family members. It’s all organized by The Johnson County Christmas Bureau. You can volunteer at the “Holiday Shop,” which is located at Metcalf South Shopping Mall at 95th and Metcalf or consider organizing a drive at work, through family members, your church or whomever to collect the items listed on the Holiday Shop’s Wish List.
- Arts in Prison, Inc. It’s easy to forget those who are in prison at the holidays. However, they are also fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, grandchildren or grandparents who would like the opportunity to send cards or make gifts for their loved ones. Then, there are the children who are incarcerated in the juvenile detention system. Arts in Prison Inc., is a non-profit organization that, “…provides opportunities for inmates to prove that they are more than the sum of their crimes.” You can volunteer as a creative arts instructor or you can simply collect and donate any number of arts and crafts-oriented materials, including paper, pens, crayons, markers, yarn, glue sticks and more. Contact Arts in Prison Inc., for more specific information.
- Cancer Action. This season is both exhausting and emotionally challenging for just about everyone, but imagine what it’s like for those who have cancer, are ill from their treatments or are bedridden as a result of the disease. Cancer Action offers “a comprehensive array of programs and services addressing the physical, social, emotional, financial and spiritual needs of persons with cancer, their family, and friends.” At this time of year, volunteer shoppers can be a tremendous help, as can companions, carolers, “adoptions” of a cancer patient and so on. Contact Lois Green, Loisg@canceractionkc.org, for more information on how you can be of assistance.
- Don Bosco’s Holiday Friends. From donating gifts and wish list items, to adopting an individual or family, Don Bosco’s Holiday Friends programs pairs big-hearted individuals with families who need them. You can also volunteer your time to help with organization, gift/clothing distribution and other administrative tasks. As the Don Bosco Centers website puts it, “Many of our seniors and ESL student families live at or below the poverty level. Christmas time often creates additional financial and emotional burdens. Our case workers have been meeting with the people we serve to identify their needs and wishes for the holidays.” Call Debora Demeter 816-691-2944 or 816-421-3160 and ask for Anne or Beth to learn more about what they need and how you can help.
Visit The Local United Way website to view an alphabetical list of organizations that are looking for volunteer assistance in some way, shape or form this holiday season.
If you do choose to survive the holidays with infertility by bunking traditions and volunteering your time and energy instead, we would love to hear about it. Please share your experience(s) with RRC followers in our comment box below.
Photo courtesy of jannoon028 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.