Volunteering often the same crap as paid work

As I’ve mentioned I’ve been doing lots of volunteering at the church and the American Legion but am starting to deal with the same backstabbing and cliquish behavior I dealt with at work. I am so disgusted about this.

The American Legion has a program that helps people going into the military, when they get out and in the military. They will have potlucks for these people and a ceremony.  It’s hard to explain but it’s a really nice way to help people. As my brother is currently serving and most of my relatives served (I did but was medically discharged)so the military is near and dear to me. When this particular program started it was a lot of fun hanging out with these people chatting and whatnot. It really was a social event. I volunteered for two years in a row for the county fair and literally was there all weekend.  However, about a year ago things started to change. First, the person who started this had a family medical crisis and a few people decided to start a fundraiser. Nothing wrong with this except I was told they didn’t want my help because they wanted to keep it small. Okay I get not wanting to tell a lot of people beforehand so the person doesn’t know but I found out many people were organizing this event, including people not even involved in the organization. To say I was hurt is an understatement and ever since then I had been sort of distant but still involved. I just generally avoided those who excluded me from the organization committee.

However, the story continues. I would go to the potlucks and help out there and several made comments that I wasn’t doing enough. One of the comments was that I was coming for the meal because I wasn’t bringing anything. First off, I didn’t always eat there, and second I would run the souvenir table (where you can buy stuff like shirts and sweat shirts)from the time before the event until after, then clean up. Many people were coming just for the meal, then leaving and not bringing anything. These people weren’t even volunteers or involved, just people finding out about the free dinners. Then people were giving me a hard time about Fred (not his name) being drunk. He’s not allowed there until he stops drinking (he’s working on it). People were blaming me because someone said we were dating. I love him and would date him but he’s either not interested or not interested now but we are friends.  We get together and are more often. However my point is we are just friends and they are blaming me. On top of it, several are Facebook friends and have been arguing with me over posts I make. If you don’t like don’t read. The final straw has been I found out the organization at the Legion created several committees with other volunteers in charge and this made me quit. My dad is a member and they like him but not me, or rather I’m not in with the cool people. Others have quit because of this.

Then we get to church. I do a lot at church, from cantoring to choir to chair person of the Shrove dinner, to religious teacher to general volunteer. I’m the one they call when they need a cantor or a volunteer. For the last three years I have been a teacher for 1st grade and love it. I’d love to be a teacher. The parents always give me compliments and the director confides in me. I’ve known her 10 years outside of church and have gone places with her outside of church.

For the last three years I have had assistants, both teen girls (11 and 17). Last year my older helper went to college, a teaching position opened at the church and I recommended her. This year she is teaching kindergarten. I pick up the bulletin and it listed my name as a teacher with someone else. To say I was angry is an understatement. I called the director about this and she assured me she was just an assistant. The reason she wants to teach is because her daughter is in my class and she doesn’t want to be left alone. Okay, then I get to the meeting and this woman started talking about plans she has for “her” class. I confront the director and she then said “look at it as she’s my co pilot”.  Sorry but I don’t want a co pilot, an assistant is fine. I don’t even need that as I don’t have many kids. The 2nd grade has a lot yet that teacher doesn’t have a co teacher.  The way they were talking to her at the meeting really isn’t how you chat with assistants. She was then asking for the syllabus and changes she wants to make, etc. The director was asking how much she can do in class, like she was testing me. I then spoke to another teacher who had the same issue and she ended up quitting because the parent was obnoxious. If this woman was so much into volunteering why didn’t she before now?

I am so sick about this because I love teaching. I’ve found out she is an actual teacher (not sure how long)and will an actual teacher be content assisting? Doubtful. Some have suggested people are trying to kick me out but why me? I do more than most, I was absent twice last year and told them ahead of time. Sure I’m not an actual teacher but have taught before in colleges and employers, and this is still more than the other catechists. Some don’t even have college degrees. I think it has to do with a hovering mother and the director being a pushover. I keep emailing her and get no response.

I’ve had horrible experience with volunteering in the past so I’m always on alert. I taught ESL students English and had a teacher hit me because she was jealous (she was old, fat, short and ugly while I was thin, pretty, young and taller than her). I’ve been used by political people, including working a full time position for free and I was paid for this by being told I wasn’t good enough to get a paid position or even a management position during the election.


4 thoughts on “Volunteering often the same crap as paid work”

  1. And they wonder why nobody wants to volunteer.

    I don’t blame you for being pissed. As usual, the gig is going to go to the “posh kids.”

    1. Well to be fair I could be overreacting but it has got too many questions like wasn’t I informed first? They keep insisting she is an assistant but is an actual teacher going to be happy being an assistant? I’m going to talk to them tomorrow because it is bothering me. My mom told me to accept it if it’s a co teacher situation but that strikes me on so many issues.

      The Legion I stopped quitting because of all the drama. I don’t defend drinking too much but he’s still my friend. In fact I invited him over when my mom had a few people over for cake for my dad’s birthday. I really like him and he’s getting help so I can’t hate him for the stupidity he has done. However others blame me and I had nothing to do with it.

  2. I’m surprised that the people who started the fundraiser didn’t hit you up for a donation. Most of the time, cash is a lot more helpful that bringing over a casserole or whatever aid one might offer. Having a medical crisis implies incurring medical bills and possibly the need to travel for treatment.

    It does sound like you are being eased out of teaching at church. It is not surprising that the co-teacher is being treated with greter respect than you because she is an accredited teacher. This is amusing because most of the nuns who taught me in elementary school did not have degrees or they needed close to a decade to earn them because they could take courses only in summer.

    1. Update on the teacher but no she isn’t easing me out. She was told she will only be an assistant as I was there first but if a teacher does quit she can take over. Being a volunteer position means teachers often quit. I feel better. I was also told that if there is conflict she will be spoken to. We’ll see but it could be a good thing having someone doing the crafts (which I stink at).

      At the Legion they have asked me for donations and required me to buy a T-shirt to wear at events. I have no money so I can’t contribute.

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