Some of my friends say I have “baby fever.” As an only child (of a very maternal woman), my mother probably wishes I did. But I don’t. At 24, it’s hard to imagine juggling a child with the rest of my weekly responsibilities and the never-ending social events. However, I do find there’s just enough time in my schedule to give back to babies in a meaningful way. Two Fridays each month I volunteer my time (and hands) to the infant massage therapy program at Sparrow. For just a few hours each visit, I lend a gentle touch to the littlest miracles in Sparrow’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Rubbing their tiny heads, limbs and backs, infant massage therapy has been linked to the growth and survival of premature babies. Having spent some time with these tiny but courageous individuals, I’m reminded how much volunteerism lends to my own health and happiness in addition to that of those I serve. They’re teaching me new things about giving my time that perhaps I overlook: CONNECTION: Volunteer groups are a great way to meet women outside of our usual social and professional networks — it is a pleasure meeting new individuals who share similar interests. PERSPECTIVE: Giving back to those in need helps put life’s challenges into perspective. Sometimes the obstacles that seem so big become quite small when we step outside the world we know. REFLECTION: Depending on what you’re interested in, donating your time can often present quiet moments for reflection. In addition to helping the babies, volunteering provides a promised dose of “me time”— at least twice a month. PATIENCE: Just like infant massage therapy, the time we give back doesn’t always show instant results. But remember: every little bit counts in helping others and our community to grow. Whatever your resolution is for the New Year, consider a little volunteerism to make your 2011 healthier and happier. I’ll be off keeping the baby fever under control, or fueling it — depending on whom you ask. For more information on the many volunteer opportunities at Sparrow including the infant massage therapy program, contact Sparrow volunteer services at 517-364-7177 or visit www.sparrow.org.