Linda Paiton and her friends know how to throw a party. Each week they gather to eat, relate, and share in the triumphs and trials of the week. They even take time to consider how they can help those in need.
After coming across volunteer information on TEEM’s website, Linda reached out to TEEM’s Volunteer Coordinator about signing on to volunteer. She not only encouraged her husband to join her efforts, but she also spoke with her LifeGroup, a small group of individuals that meet to fellowship and connect, about the important of TEEM’s mission.
Linda’s LifeGroup attends the Oklahoma City LifeChurch campus. After attending a study called Restore which challenges individuals to effectively help others, Linda searched for volunteer efforts that her LifeGroup could participate in.
“During the [Restore], we challenged ourselves as a group to identify and commit to a volunteer program in the community,” she said. “I learned about TEEM's mission when I was researching local nonprofits. It personally spoke to me because my brother is a convicted felon in another state and I've seen him struggle to make a life for himself.”
Potential volunteers are typically encouraged to visit TEEM offices to participate in a tour and complete volunteer training. Instead, the LifeGroup invited our volunteer coordinator to the home of one of the group members to participate in their weekly gathering.
“It’s rare for individuals to invite you into their homes to talk about TEEM,” Volunteer Coordinator Lance Evans said. “This was definitely a first for me.”
The invitation revealed the sincerity of Linda’s LifeGroup: they simply want to be of service.
“I'm so appreciative of what TEEM is doing for our state, and the rest of my LifeGroup believes in the mission too so that's why we wanted to volunteer here,” said Linda.
TEEM houses two clothing closets to equip participants with appropriate job interview attire. Private citizens and clothing retailers like Men’s Wearhouse help provide individuals with new and lightly-used business attire. Before items are handed out to participants, volunteers help sort, size, and label them. Linda’s LifeGroup helped organize the closet and prepare TEEM for spring—a busy time for job interviews. They even committed to coming back once a month to help.
“What we learned is restoration happens through a relationship,” Linda said. “Walking in a relationship with another person over time sets the stage for true change to occur.”
Linda said that she encourages other individuals to help with TEEM’s mission—there are plenty of roles to fill and numerous lives to touch.
“There is a volunteer opportunity for every body at TEEM,” she said. “Some people like to work directly with the participants, while others prefer to work behind the scenes. Helping out away from the spotlight by collecting donations, assembling care packages, or organizing the clothing closet are all equally important and impactful to the mission.”