Charbra Richardson knows what it’s like to fall on hard times. The DeSoto, Texas resident and mother of two found herself living in one of Buckner International’s transitional programs not long ago. After struggling with figuring out what to do next Charbra received a phone call from Buckner, a ministry dedicated to the transformation and restoration of the lives, offering to help and essentially changing her life.
Today, Charbra gives back to her community as a childcare provider with Bucker,in addition to volunteering with a local artist once a month. Charbra helps watch children while their parents are in training. Parents who like her, may be going through difficult times and are getting back on their feet.
For her dedication to service and commitment to her community, Charbra is today’s Daily Point of Light award honoree. Point of Light spoke with Charbra to learn more about her volunteerism and her service work with Buckner.
What inspires you to volunteer?
I love ministering to others. When people see the love of God in you when they have no hope that He is even listening to them, brings me joy. My reason for volunteering for Buckner, however, is a personal one. I have received lifesaving and life changing help from Buckner when I was at my lowest point as a single displaced mother of 2. I made it my own personal promise to do whatever was needed in order to give back, be a service, and to lighten the load in any way I can.
Describe your volunteer role
I am a childcare provider. I assist the Buckner staff in caring for the children of the programs that provide much needed training to enrich the lives of the parents and family members that care for them.
The most rewarding part of your work?
I get to work with the babies! I also provide the Buckner staff with a level of comfort that is needed and not always given. They have to count on the generosity and time of other people. It’s my pleasure to serve them with dependability, knowledge, and love. I love that I can serve as well as lead. I get to see panicky parents and children calm down and form new friendships, share experiences and enjoy the loving environment that we provide.
What have I learned through your experiences as a volunteer?
I would say patience, value, and dependability. I have worked with children for over 30 years and most people would think the patience is for them, but it’s for me. I always feel the need to be perfect, be a superwoman, and never let anyone down, that I put a lot of pressure on myself, and when it doesn’t go right I feel great disappointment. I have to tell myself that I can only give myself and it will always be enough. I value the friendships, strong bonds and the love of the smiles that I minister to. I value myself as well, my time and heart are the 2 commodities that are unique to me, and because I value them, I make sure that the ones I share it with value it just as much. Dependable is such a boring word… but not in volunteerism. I pride myself in being dependable in all things. If I don’t show up the load just got heavier for everyone else involved.
Are there any future partnerships, programs or events that you are excited about?
I also volunteer with a local artist once a month. After set up and making sure everyone has been served I get to create my own art and fellowship with others in the class. I look forward to these classes, it provides another avenue to learn patience with myself.
Why do you think it’s important for others to give back?
The cliché answer to help those in need, or which came first giving back or paying forward? Giving back is really not as important as paying forward in my opinion. When I fell on hard times I felt lost and confused. I refused to ask for help and when I had no other option, I didn’t know who to ask without strings attached, demands to pay it back, and the guilt and shame for needing the help. Buckner made it a natural exchange. They gave to me and my family and I give to them and their families. Giving back helped me to remember and paying forward made me a better person. I positioned myself to give back by applying; I’m paying it forward every time I come back and give of myself.
What I would love for people to learn from your story?
Be your own Super Hero and go out and save the world. We all need your brand of you to make us better.
Do you want to make a difference in your community like Charbra? Click here to find local volunteer opportunities.