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Articles

How often have you found yourself wishing you had more time? More time for yourself, more time for your kids, and even more time for other people?

Enter Anna Pearson and Spots of Time. In her years working as an advocate for charities in Britain and abroad, Pearson recognized a pattern: many people want to volunteer, but cannot find ways to do it.

To bridge the gap between what volunteers can give and what people need, Anna reimagined volunteering on a very small scale. What differed about here efforts were that she concentrated her empathy on volunteers rather than those in needs, and in turn created a trickle-down effect. As she explained to us over tea “I thought, ‘People need things as basic as little happiness or joy in their day’, and I realized that with a humble idea, we could make that happen.”

The humble idea was a service- Spots of Time- that connects people with organizations that can use volunteers who can commit an hour or more to do something for someone else, and often at a moment’s notice. As Anna discovered, an hour or two was usually more than enough time for a volunteer to do some good, and his or her service could be something as small as reading aloud or accompanying someone on a walk.

Early feedback on her program, just months old when we met her, showed that volunteers are so sincere about doing something positive that they worry that a spot of time is not enough.

‘‘I understand if people are worried that we are all fur coat and no knickers,’’ said Anna, using a British expression for someone who is all flash and no substance. ‘‘I’m keenly aware of what we haven’t done yet, but I also know there’s a big resource here and a big need, and I think it should be possible to break down the barriers that keep them apart."

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