One Man’s Dedication to Volunteering Across Spheres of His Community

Daily Point of Light # 7791 Apr 16, 2024

Meet Daily Point of Light Award honoree Sean Sheppard. Read his story, and nominate an outstanding volunteer or family as a Daily Point of Light.

Since May 2023, Sean Sheppard has dedicated his time and energy across a wide spectrum of volunteer activities in his community of South Hampton Roads and beyond, touching the lives of many with his generosity and commitment. Sean’s volunteerism shines brightly at the YMCA of South Hampton Roads, where he has served as a volunteer coach and referee for the Youth Sports Leagues since September 2023.

Week after week, Sean devotes his evenings to coaching and teaching kids the fundamentals of basketball and soccer, as well as embodying the spirit of teamwork and fair play. His dedication extends to refereeing games every Saturday, where he ensures that the young athletes not only compete but also learn valuable life lessons through sports.

At the BBBC Military Ministry, Sean spends time offering sailors and marines spiritual conversations and a comforting environment. This ministry provides not just spiritual sustenance but also tangible support through free transportation to services and meals, creating a warm and welcoming space for service members stationed at Damneck and NAS Oceana.

Working with the Coalition of Sailors Against Destructive Decisions (CSADD) since September 2021, Sean’s efforts span organizing cleanups, assisting animal shelters and fostering community spirit through events like the Barracks Olympics. His commitment to the environment is further evident in his work with First Landing State Park from December 2023, where Sean has been instrumental in beach cleanups, adopting trails and engaging the community in preserving the natural beauty of the area.

In over two and a half years, Sean has amassed 307 hours of volunteer service across 36 different events. Read on to find out more about what inspires him.

Sean organized a beach cleanup in February 2024, where he and 15 others cleared 1.5 miles of beach.

Tell us about your volunteer role.

At the YMCA, I attend one or two practices a week and teach kids how to play basketball and soccer. We also play games and I referee on Saturdays. Then, for the BBBC Military Ministry, I assist every Saturday with door-to-door evangelism and speak with sailors and marines about God. We offer free transportation to service and back, and home-cooked meals to provide a “home away from home” environment for these service members. This ministry usually takes place on Damneck and NAS Oceana.

I also volunteer with the Coalition of Sailors Against Destructive Decisions, and the First Landing State Park, which has allowed me to assist in beach cleanups, adopting trails and more.

Why is this issue so important to you?

This issue is so important to me because as Americans, we have a LOT to give, a lot of us just don’t know it. Volunteering for stuff like this has made me realize what kind of impact one can make.

How did you get started with this initiative?

Funny story: getting out of high school, I didn’t involve myself in anything. I didn’t play football, didn’t help organize events, didn’t do band, nothing like that. When I joined the Navy, I promised myself I would get involved and enjoy doing the nice things in life. Not only has it been fulfilling for me, but it’s impacting other people too!

What’s been the most rewarding part of your work?

The most rewarding part has been setting an example for my peers – the friends, family members and coworkers I know who have laughed at the idea of volunteering, and then, later on, have gotten interested. And they realize how great it is.

Why is it important for others to get involved with causes they care about?

It’s important because, like I said earlier, we all secretly have a lot to give. Be that guy or girl. Get out there and make a change. Don’t let anything unimportant get in the way.

Any advice for people who want to start volunteering?

Start with one organization, and don’t overwork yourself. Get your foot in the door and just be sure you have a good heart about it. Understand the impact you are making for others, because from a short-term standpoint, it’s not going to seem like you’re doing much, but you are. Understand your value!

Do you want to make a difference in your community like Sean? Find local volunteer opportunities.

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