03 August 2011

Why Volunteer?

I made a conscious decision when I began this blog, to leave all talk of politics out of it. I have very good friends on both sides of the aisle, and I love you all. This post is not a rehash of the recent Debt Ceiling debate - you probably got your fill of that in the media. Instead I want to write about an approach that does not get much press - Volunteering.

Two of my favorite television shows are Little House on the Prairie and The Waltons. Sometimes I long for simpler days. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't give up my laptop or cell phone for anything. No need to go back to the horse & buggy days, or to hand crank telephones. Yet what I love about both shows is the sense of community that existed amongst the neighbors. When Charles (Pa) Ingalls fell on hard times, someone else was there to pick him up. Our modern society is disconnected. Not only are we unaware if our neighbors need help, we might not even know who our neighbors are.
Americans are busy AND we are in the midst of extreme economic times. I am grateful there are programs available for those in need. However, has it become too easy for us as a society to write a check to the IRS, to let the government take care of the homeless and the hungry in our own community? Again I see a big disconnect between the givers and those who need our help. What if every able American volunteered just one hour of their time each week? What if businesses allowed their employees to take time off to volunteer? What if we were more concerned about those in need instead of the latest gossip in Hollywood? . . .

As a former PTA President, I saw what thousands of volunteer hours did for our school when funding from the school district wasn't there. My Pollyanna dream is that of Americans stepping up in person to take care of their neighbors, instead of sending money to Washington D.C. only to see a portion of it returning to their community. This is not the most efficient use of our resources. Wouldn't it be nice if individual communities were able to come to the aid of their neighbors like they did on Walton's Mountain? I know, I know, this is simplistic and our country's problems are complex, but I can dream can't I? In our fellowship with our neighbors, we are stronger than when we are alone.

One regret I have of my parenting years was that I did not involve my daughters in volunteer opportunities as much as I should have. I made excuses because of their busy schedules with school and extracurricular activities. Looking back, I could have done more. Looking forward, it is my goal to increase my volunteer commitment to my community. If you are interested, but don't know where to start, you can find a Volunteer Match in your area.

                           Do Your Part
                                   Meet New People
      Join the Excitement
                           Be a Positive Influence
                   Raise  Awareness
                                          Develop New Talents
          Grow From the Experience
                  Learn and Serve
  Personal Satisfaction
                              Work for a Cause
                                         Be Part of a Team
                      Face new Challenges
   Pass Along Wisdom
                         Preserve the Environment
                                     Keep Active
                           Share your Vision


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