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Where does a life dedicated to helping others get its start? For Puja Malhotra, the answer lies in the sweet taste of ice cream.
As a 14-year-old volunteer at a nursing home, Malhotra was asked to assist in the pharmacy gift shop/café. Among her less formal duties, she helped a disabled resident satisfy her sweet tooth with spoonfuls of ice cream.
This simple act made a big impact on her, Malhotra recalls, and the memory of the intimacy she shared with her new friend grew more significant with each passing year.
"I only recently realized that it was the catalyst that led me to continue to volunteer and, eventually, to a social work career," she said.
In 2003, Malhotra discovered One Brick while searching for opportunities at VolunteerMatch. With chapters in several U.S. cities, One Brick supports local non-profit and community organizations by creating a flexible volunteer environment for those interested in making a concrete difference in the community.
At her first One Brick event, Malhotra sorted business clothing for Career Gear, a nonprofit that helps disadvantaged men get a start in the job market. She was hooked.
Later she came out for One Brick volunteering events in support of many different nonprofits in New York City, including Baby Buggy, the Biltmore Theater, and Friends of Morningside.
"I loved the idea that I could pick and choose any event to attend with the click of a button, and without committing to orientations or ongoing meetings," she said.
Along the way, Malhotra discovered she was ready to commit to helping others as a profession. While volunteering with One Brick, she met a social worker who inspired her to enter the field. Today she has a Master of Social Work degree and works as a Geriatric Social Worker. She remains involved in running One Brick's New York City operations as a volunteer.
"I am so grateful for the experiences I have had with One Brick thus far and thank VolunteerMatch for helping me find such a wonderful organization!" she said.
Like ice cream, giving back by volunteering can be its own sweet reward - and you can find your flavor at VolunteerMatch. Get started today.