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Karl’s Blog

Volunteering for Parallel….

Let me be frank, my volunteering wasn’t an entirely altruistic thing.

As a single parent working full time, I was intent on teaching my children a good work ethic and social and moral values, I did a stint for a couple of small, local charities for about a year. Then, said values having been reinforced, left volunteering behind me.

Jump forward several years, late onset Epilepsy and the rare form of Haemophilia that I was diagnosed with previously behaved in a debilitating manner and ripped the bottom out of my world. My long- term relationship was on the rocks. Life fell apart around me and I lost everything. Or so I thought….

I became reclusive, insular, curmudgeonly even. Then, one day, reflecting on how I had got to where I was, I realised that my downward spiral had to stop. My mind went back to that volunteering stint.

Eureka! Volunteering would be a way of bringing about the changes that would ultimately save my life. I volunteered for a number of national charities and it was good for me on emotional, physical and social levels, but not fulfilling or life changing. It was at best a symbiotic relationship, in truth, a self- absorbed attempt at feeling good about me and making me feel better.

Then, I found Parallel….

Parallel is different! Parallel brings people together like nothing else! It not only bridges diversity, adversity and social perversity, it embraces it.

I met true champions, people that were dealing with those challenges. Not only facing them, but beating them, making a change, making a difference.

People overcoming physical and emotional challenges far beyond my own comprehension. People who smiled and laughed freely, who were grateful for little things every day that I had taken for granted. I saw life through new eyes and I was part of something bigger than the sum of all its parts, bigger and more important than me and that I belonged.

I learned the true meaning and the strength that comes from people working together to make the world a better place.

I have volunteered in various roles at Parallel, each role was rewarding in a different way and presented different aspects. Each role was an amazing, fun, and exciting life experience. I laughed, I shared in peoples joy and triumphs at overcoming challenges and meeting goals, I made friends, I made memories that will last a lifetime.

PARALLEL IS LIFE CHANGING through the way it brings people and causes together and to the forefront, it turns lives around, it makes a difference. It is now a permanent fixture in my calendar that I look forward to and I’m proud and honoured to be a part of that in an altruistic sense.

If you only volunteer for one event in your life, parallel should be that event!

Karl Banks. June 2019.

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