Okay, first off:
In no way am I claiming to be some kind of saint.
In no way am I suggesting that I have any moral superiority, either.
That being said, it baffles me how some people—people I work with on a day to day basis—have no desire to help out their fellow man. I asked my boss, “Hey do you think I can bring up this 5k event for the organization I do work for? They could use a few more volunteers for a couple of hours.”
“Yeah, no problem Ben.”
I brought up, said event, in the Wednesday meeting. I sent a follow up email. One month’s notice should be enough time, right?
Wrong. No response. Yes, as in none. Not a single person in the entire company.
It was pretty embarrassing considering that I told people from the organization I’d ask coworkers to help out—naively thinking a few would join in. I know they’re not opposed to doing company activities, hell; we do them all of the time.
I’m not suggesting they’re bad people, but I am saying their reluctance to help out shocked me.
Why is that? I have no idea. Perhaps because people believe that there’s nothing in it for them.
So I’ve taken the liberty to come up with a list of reasons how helping out your community can help you.
- You meet GREAT people.
Yes, the caps were necessary on the word great. When you volunteer to do work for others, you get to mingle with a hodgepodge of awesome people from all walks of life. I’ve met everything from Real Estate Agents, IT consultants, Accountants, Denver Nuggets dancers, Teachers, Principals, Denver Broncos Players, Lead singers in popular bands, etc. The list goes on and on. What these people do for a living isn’t what makes them awesome—what does is the fact they care about others and take time out of their busy days to do something helpful for the community.
At the particular organization I work with, we mentor ‘at risk’ kids. It’s also pretty amazing to meet high school students who do great things despite dealing with obstacles others don’t have to face.
- You get to make positive changes in your community.
Let’s face it. When people talk politics, local politics anyway, they talk about how voting for X candidate will bring the changes that they desire in city, state, or county Y. Should you vote? Yes. Will candidate X make a huge impact on your community? Probably not. Sorry to everyone out there who feels that voting is the only way to change the world you live in.
I take that back, I’m not sorry—if you think a politician is going to make things that much better for you, then you might need to get checked out by a neurologist.
*looks down at notes*
Oh…yeah. There is a point to this. People make changes. Yes, people like you, me, the guy next to you, the random guy who cut you off in traffic, your nosy neighbor—whoever. You can’t expect anyone else to make the change that you want to see except the person you see in the mirror. Do you want something done? By all means grab a few friends to help out–but you need to take the responsibility on yourself to get things done. Waiting around for some guy in office to fix things is like waiting for a friend to come over to pick dog crap off of your carpet—it’s probably not going to happen.
And no, I couldn’t come up with a better comparison.
- Opens lines of communication.
Community work opens communication to people you may not interact with on a regular basis. Like I said earlier, you have the opportunity to work with people in all walks of life.
Instead of taking a loaded weapon to ‘protect’ yourself from the people in your community, perhaps you could talk to them instead. I’m looking at you Zimmerman. No, I’m not trying to make a political statement about the case, but I think we can all agree that it was a messed up situation that never had to happen.
Misunderstandings/not having a voice are causes for violence.
- Tax benefits.
Okay, so I don’t know too much about this topic. If you donate money, I know you get tax deductions for your troubles. You should ask a CPA if you want to take advantage of this, though. Don’t take my word for it.
- That warm, fuzzy feeling.
We all like to pretend that we’re not total scumbags for a few hours each week.
Nonetheless, doing positive things for others feels great! Seriously, it does…
So please, I urge you—go out and find an organization that you think you could rally behind and put in the hours. I promise that you won’t regret it.
My rant is over! Thanks for reading.
*Steps down from soapbox*
*Gets punched in the face by an angry coworker*