“Share and give back in the areas most important to you. Take action. Don’t think about it – do it.” -Donna Karan
A few months ago, I applied to become a Big in the Big Brothers, Big Sisters mentor program. Call me cocky but I thought I was a shoe in- I’ve had previous volunteer experience, great references and the genuine passion of being there for a cool little kid. A few days after I applied, I found an email in my inbox saying that my application was rejected, with the explanation that the local BBBS chapter had plenty of female volunteers- they were in desperate need for male ones. I went home that night a little sad, coming back to my house full of male roommates. One was on the couch, talking to another about how bored he was. Of course, I grew disappointed. There was a kid out there, looking for a grown-up friend, who needed a grown-up friend, a friend that could have possibly been my roommate. But instead, a potential male mentor lounged around on the couch, complaining of nothing to do.
This afternoon, a friend and I walked around downtown Reno, looking at the modern decay and talking about ways the city could improve. We spoke about people’s desires to do good but the lack of motivation or physical effort on their part. Sometimes I think that one of the biggest issues in the world is apathy. Believe me- I wish I could but I know I can’t solve all the world’s problems (if even though, I think about doing it all the time). There are plenty of worldly concerns that I chose to ignore (the thing that comes to mind right now is veganism/animal rights- but then again, I’m also a big fan of baked chicken). Although, I’m not Superman or Princess Diana, I know that in some little way, I can make a difference in my community with volunteer work. I have eyes that can see clearly and an adoration of literature and storytelling- so I volunteer at the local library. One of my girlfriends has a passion for bicycling and volunteers at a non-profit bike shop, helping those find low-cost bicycles. Another friend just loves being a friend. So she shares her companionship with the elderly in nursing homes who don’t get visitors.
So, my challenge for you, dear readers, is this: go out and volunteer. Google the name of your city and “volunteering” and see what pops up. Explore what options are out there. Join a non-profit arts group. Work with local youth. Don’t want to work with kids? Fine. There are organizations where you can go plant trees or play with shelter animals. You’re too busy? That’s fine, too. Make a donation. Most places will accept a measly dollar for their cause (don’t be stingy now!). Find something that lights the fire inside of you and feed that fire with humanity and compassion. The world won’t automatically turn peaceful but there will be a piece of you left in someone’s heart. And maybe a little something left in yours.