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This page is devoted to the management of volunteer programs in health care settings.

~November 2014~

Tale of Two Trees

cartoon people in circle


Two trees grew up in the nursery, side by side.  One day, a man came into the nursery and bought the trees.  He brought them home and planted them, one in the front of his house, and the other in the back of his house.

The years passed, and the trees took root and grew, taller and taller until they were both taller than the house.

One year though, the tree in the front of the house took months longer to grow leaves.  While the tree in the back of the house was lush and green, the tree in the front of the house was pale, with just the hints of green here and there.tree without leaves

The winter had been long and cold, filled with strong winds, snow and ice.  The tree in the back of the house had enjoyed a level of protection from the harshest of the winds.  The tree in the back of the house was planted in a slight dip in the yard, while the tree in the front of the house was planted on a high spot in the yard.  The tree in the back of the house likely accumulated more water stores over the winter, simply based on its location.

But both trees are still alive, still growing, and still providing shade.

The moral of the story: don’t compare your journey with anyone else.  Just because you graduated at the same time, started at the same company at the same time, or started businesses at the same time doesn’t mean you will be in the same place 6 months or 5 years later.  Some people will quit.  Some will keep going.  Your measure of success is you – did you quit or did you recognize the problems, make adjustments and keep going. 
tree with leaves

Be like the tree that hibernated a bit longer to get over the harsh winter.  Take your time to learn from struggles – and then keep going!

Reprinted with permission from KDLegal –www.kdlegal.com

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The author of the Heath Care Volunteer Programs column is Mary Kay Hood MS, Hendricks Regional Health, Danville, IN (317) 745-3556. With a BS degree in biology from Marian College and a Master of Science in Management from Indiana Wesleyan University, Mary Kay has been involved in volunteer management over twenty years with a zoo and in the health care field. During that time, she completed the Management of Volunteer Programs course offered at University of Indianapolis, several supervisory training programs as well as the Indiana Hospital and Health Association’s Management Institute offered by the Executive Education Program, School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University. Mary Kay served on the Nonprofit Training Center of United Way from 1993 to 2006. During that time, she taught many workshops also facilitating speaker arrangements for the Basic Volunteer Management series. Additionally, she has presented at various national and international conferences. Mary Kay served as president of the Central Indiana Association for Volunteer Administration (CIAVA) from 1993-1997 and the Indiana Society of Directors of Volunteer Services (ISDVS) from 2006-2008. She was also the recipient of the 1995 Outstanding Director of Volunteer Services Award and the 2002 United Way of Central Indiana Volunteer of the Year Award. Most recently she served on the Steering Committee for COVAA resulting in the formation of a new national membership organization for those in volunteer management, the Association of Leaders in Volunteer Engagement (AL!VE). With several published articles, she is also author to two books: The One Minute Answer to Volunteer Management Questions and The Volunteer Leader as Change Agent.

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