Volunteering

Something beyond you…

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At about 4:15am today, I turned my TV on as I prepared for bed after a long night of reading. I intended to watch Jersey Shore or something more fun so I switched to BET.

The look on the little girl’s face sent shockwaves to my brain. I was transfixed. The scene didn’t last long as the voice of actress and singer Debbie Gibson led to a series of more images of little children all over the world who are desperately in need of help and who can be saved with as little as 72cents per day. Debbie has been a volunteer with Children International since 1989, regularly contributing $22 per month to keep hope alive. And there are many more men and women who have devoted their time and resources to this noble cause for over 70 years!

The program ran out after about 30 minutes, but not before earnestly pleading for support from all good-natured people. I made a mental note to check on the website (www.childreninternational.com) and call the hotline to make a commitment for $22 every month to keep a little child alive. I was appalled at the story of a family that lives in a cemetery because they can’t afford a home, I was shocked to see the 3-year old girl from Zambia who is terminally ill and I was moved by the picture of 2-year old Valerin Dayana from Colombia who was listed on the Emergency Waiting List.

With sleep far from my eyes, I began to ponder on what the purpose of Public Administration and Budgeting and Democracy and Bureaucracy and the Debt Crisis and endless policies were. If little children like Valerin and Arlenda and Kazi do not know where the next meal will come from or if they will ever be ok, what is the importance of a fancy diploma? Can I truly make a difference?

These past few days, I’ve wondered endlessly about the amazing generosity of human nature. I study in an institution, like so many others in the United States funded by the goodwill of many who have walked these same shores, made significant impact on the world and then donated their estates to fund education. I presently study on a scholarship, and knowing that without the generosity of some stranger who I would never meet, I wouldn’t be here today, I am determined to make my own life count.

Everywhere I go, I am surrounded by people who carry out very little acts of kindness, which when aggregated makes a mighty ocean of love. I have decided not to be one of those who would just watch things rot and let fellow humans die alone. I would die with them if need be. Of course there are skeptics who posit that those who are ‘down the ladder’ are there because of lack of effort. I have nothing but pity for them, because they know not the position of privilege in which they have been placed, and they fail to realize that He who placed them there can shift the ground beneath them.

This is a passionate plea to all well-meaning people; please get involved in a movement for change. Donate your time, resources, advice, expertise and more importantly MONEY to a charitable organization. Get involved with something beyond you; help to rebuild a derelict school, help out at a hospital, visit a prison to give hope to the inmates, join hands with people in your community to do something. Rick Warren once said that there is a certain pleasure that comes from giving that can never be found in getting. This is our time to make a difference. Let it not pass us by.

Yes we can, and yes we will!