Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Be The Change You Want To See


            Do you want to make a difference in the world? Do you want to see some real change in the way the world is, and how your community functions?

            “Be the change you want to see in the world.” (Mahatma Gandhi)

            “Volunteers are the only human beings on the face of the earth who reflect the nation’s compassion, unselfish caring, patience and just plain loving each other.” (Erma Bombeck)

            Do you want to live in a better neighborhood, a better community? Do you think the world could be a better place? Are you tired of hearing about the troubles of the world and all the negative political rhetoric?  Are you frustrated that things are getting worse, and there’s nothing you can do that would make a difference?

            Then, get involved and volunteer.  Connect with a person, help them out, and make a difference.  Take a few minutes, an hour, maybe a day, and offer your talent.  Pay attention to someone, work together on a project, or simply have a conversation and offer a kind ear, a helping hand. 

            Find a group where you can get involved.  Or do something on your own.

It can start with just a simple conversation at the grocery store or with a neighbor, a few kind words, and maybe a helping hand. 

Volunteers are at the center of our community life.

Our schools, churches, community festivals and gatherings, museums and parks are staffed by volunteers. Much of what happens around here would quickly fade away without dedicated volunteers.

            On a more personal level, our volunteers are helping an elderly neighbor with their yard work, or bringing them a meal.  Others tutor a child, or help out at school or church.  The possibilities are endless.

            Our community calendar in the local paper is filled with activities run by volunteers, working to make this community a better place to live.

            I see the impact of volunteerism everywhere.  Without them, our welcome mat wouldn’t be as inviting, and as enjoyable for our visitors.  Our youth and our seniors wouldn’t be as integrated into our social fabric. Our community wouldn’t be nearly as vibrant and supportive. 

            Look around you.  Volunteers make a difference, and they change lives. 

            I volunteer.  I find a project, I connect with a person, and pay attention to them, and put action into my caring for their wellbeing.  I make a difference and my heart is filled with a sense of purpose, a sense of accomplishment. My volunteer work at the local youth prison and with master gardeners gives me a sense of purpose, and helps change people’s lives for the better.

            In volunteering, I become an instrument of change.  I am part of the solution to a small part of the world’s problems, rather than a person who just sits back and complains. I have a purpose, and become a voice for doing good.

The payback for me is amazing.  What I give I receive back tenfold.  I feel better about myself, I contribute, I connect, and I become a better member of my community. 

            Volunteerism is all about health, my health, the community’s, my state, my nation, and the world. 

I can even stand to watch the evening news, and know that I don’t need to just listen to the litany of the world’s problems and get caught up in all drama. I’m not the passive listener, who can easily say the world is a miserable, hopeless place. Instead, I am part of the answer, an agent of positive change. 

---Neal Lemery, July 26, 2016

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