It’s recently come to my attention that people feel that voluntarism will only happened when forced. One day while relaxing and listening to a conversation amongst my peers, I heard it said that everyone should be forced to volunteer and that got me thinking. Is this really volunteering? If someone says you must volunteer for 6 hours doing this task for society, it’ll teach you principles and to serve the community, is that what volunteering is? Is this the best way to inspire our children to help out in the community?
According to Merriam-Webster: Volunteer means “a person who voluntarily undertakes or expresses a willingness to undertake a service: as”. This definition does not imply any form of forced entry into service. The undertaking should be done willingly or else it is not volunteering and the body being forced may not being learning to give back to the community at all.
The next question would be if you can’t force people to volunteer how can you inspire people to want to give back to the community they live in? Well for me a simple story in the local paper influenced me to look into what I could do to help out around my community. Weekly we receive the Union Leader, in it I found a story about a man named Mark Previe. Mark Previe takes the bus and makes a difference, is the title of the article. This article is about 47 year old Previe who regularly rides the bus on his own dime and helps the elderly on and off the bus in Manchester. He helps them carry their packages and groceries to their homes. This New Hampshire native takes a lot of pride in what he does and he’s been doing it for 18 years! He says in the article, ‘“I helped a guy out, and he seemed to appreciate it. After a while I started doing it every day. I love doing it. They appreciate it.”’ It’s amazing, he saw a problem and stepped in to do something about and it turns out he enjoys doing it. Previe wasn’t forced to help people on and off the bus. He wanted too. In an age where we plug in to block out, one man looked around and saw something simple he could do to help out and stuck with it for 18 years.
So maybe it’s time we put our iPhones and MP3 players away and start checking out the world around us. Help a stranger, mow an elderly neighbor’s lawn or volunteer at the local homeless shelter. Now is the time to prove we do not need people forcing our hand because we can open our own hearts to the world and do something good for someone else.
Attached is a link to a website that offers volunteer opportunities around New Hampshire. Check it out !