Plant a See, Watch it Grow

22Jul09

Tonight I was watching our President speak and, while answering a question about why he’s so insistent on achieving his goal, he said something that really struck a chord with me (and changed the way I decided to both write this post and kick off this blog). Obama said:

The default position is inertia. Because doing something always creates some people that are unhappy. There’s always going to be some interest out there that decides, you know what, the status quo is working for me a little bit better.

Okay, so he was talking about his health care agenda. I, on the other hand, had an epiphany about how this applies to a question I get asked A LOT in my day-to-day life: Why do you volunteer? Or even more to the point, why do you volunteer so much? (on average, I do something twice a month) Most people ask the question in a really nice way because they’re genuinely curious about why the heck I care so much. Others though…you can see it in their skeptical eyes as they give me ‘the up-down’ waiting for my answer. The thoughts are flashing across their foreheads like a ticker billboard in Times Square. “Mmmmhmm…What did you do wrong?” “Is it community service for [insert your crime-of-choice here]?” “Who in the world has time for all of that?” The sad fact is that there are certain people in the cast of characters in my life that almost look down on volunteering because it’s not the norm for them. It’s what people do as ‘punishment’ or are sentenced to do because they’ve done something wrong. Or it’s simply something they don’t think they could ever have the time for or interest to do. For me, however, it’s a different story.

Not to get all preachy, but I’ve always known that I was born to serve. Not, like in the military – I’m physically kinda weak and I hate to fight about anything. I mean that I practically came out of the womb offering to lend a hand to something or another. Even as a child, I loved going to our little volunteer projects in Honor Society or as part of some school project. We’d collect coats, feed the hungry, raise money for some cause or another. Teachers would ask if someone would help with something and most of the time, if I wasn’t feeling too shy, my hand would pop right up in the air. I have always liked to help people in whatever ways I can and I guess it’s stuck with me into adulthood. Volunteering makes me happy and it tends to make others happy. Who couldn’t use a little extra happy, right?

And so, long story short, this blog for me is a manifestation of that love of wanting to be there for people. To do something that eases a burden, makes someone’s day a little brighter, gives someone something to look forward to, or brings a little difference to a world that might not be a part of my own little bubble. My hope is that my blog will inspire even one person to dedicate some time to service, check out a new charity, or to give of themselves to help a cause that’s more important than whatever new bag is in season this fall. Heck, I’d be okay if all this blog did was inspire ME to do some of those things more often than I already do.

So here’s to sharing my volunteering adventures around Atlanta (and, eventually, in other places beyond 285), spotlighting great causes and my philanthropic heroes, and to making the world even the tiniest bit of a better place for a moment in time.

Cheers!

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