Thoughts on Empathy

As National Volunteer Week wraps up, I have given much thought to this year’s theme of empathy. As the world opens up after two years of isolation and lockdowns, empathy is what will help us move forward as we try to navigate an increasingly complex world. 

 Empathy is like a muscle that you must use to keep strong. It allows us to have deeper connections with others leading to happier and healthier communities and individuals. Empathy is a choice. Everyday I am reminded that our volunteers here at ABLE2 choose to practice and embrace empathy by reaching out to those who are lonely and vulnerable in our community. Our volunteers see the world through the lens of a person with a disability and develop a deeper understanding of the loneliness and isolation experienced by many. Instead of focusing on what makes us different, our volunteers recognize that each person has their own unique life experience and have much to offer to those around them. Knowing that you have something unique to share and wanting to know the uniqueness of another is the ultimate act of empathy. 

 I am fortunate, through my work at ABLE2, that I get to see the best in people by watching our volunteers provide support and friendship to people living with disabilities, which in turn empowers them to live their best life within their own communities. These volunteers provide both practical and emotional supports, helping with things like paperwork, groceries, doctor’s appointments, going out for coffee, seeing a movie together, going shopping or sharing a meal. In many instances they are supporters in end-of-life care.

 Everyday I see the impacts of empathy. Workplaces, communities, and families are all stronger with the practice of empathy. Whether it be spending time with people, raising money, or helping at an event, ABLE2 is so grateful for the volunteers in our community. It is through empathy that we can help build more equitable and inclusive communities.

Published by

Heather Lacey

Experienced Non-Profit Executive Director

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