Musings About ASJA Volunteerism

Susan Mangiero
Photo by Dakota Corbin on Unsplash

It seems like we never have enough time to do everything we need and want to do. Our daily twenty-four hours seem to disappear into the ether faster than you can say “tempus fugit.” To-do lists take on a life of their own, growing like weeds and frequently frustrating our efforts to put a definitive end to the workday. With ever-increasing demands on one’s time, you would think only the affluent could afford the “luxury” of helping others. You would be wrong.

Statistics from the United Nations show that over one billion individuals around the globe volunteer their time. According to Western Connecticut State University, my alma mater for a 2022 MFA in Creative & Professional Writing, there are ten reasons to volunteer. These include a chance to learn, to make a difference, to give back, and help strengthen your community.

Based on my experience as an ASJA volunteer, albeit a relatively new one, I can vouch for the benefits. I enjoy my interactions with kind, smart, and action-oriented ASJA members. These individuals demonstrate a passion for helping our community of independent nonfiction writers thrive in a competitive and rapidly changing environment. I relish reading what other ASJA members post on Facebook or share in their ASJA blog posts, conference sessions, and webinars. I like having the opportunity to offer my thoughts and tips to writers who, like me, want to do the best job possible.

I agree with the famous poet Rumi: “If you become a helper of hearts, springs of wisdom will flow from your heart.” I learned a lot about the wellspring of youthful creativity by volunteering to judge middle graders’ submissions for the Connecticut Invention Convention. I learned how to be a better communicator as a Junior Achievement volunteer, teaching business principles to fifth graders. As a volunteer who helped promote the recent ASJA conference, I learned we have dozens of enthusiastic members and allies who want the organization to prosper.

Think about volunteering a few hours of your time to ASJA. You may surprise yourself at how much more you receive than give. Contact Emily Paulson at for information.