Stan's World - Changing the World
June 30, 2019
If you’ve read Stan’s World for a few years, you may recall that I often advocate for volunteerism. While some of us may have more time and opportunity than others to help those less fortunate, I fervently believe that what we take away from volunteering is so much more than we invest. In fact, a recent conversation with an old friend led me to conclude there may even be more at stake than I realized.
The conversation focused on a few subjects, to include how much longer it takes to recover from injuries as we age; the awareness that as we grow older, our runway (i.e., years to live) is obviously more limited; and the realization that aging employees may not be as appreciated by their employers.
But these observations paled in comparison to an admitted sense of despondency on a totally unrelated matter: sadness over what he views as a torn country that shows few signs of healing, accompanied by a feeling of helplessness because there was little he could do about it.
I explained to my friend that long ago I gave up any notion that I would do anything life-changing on a global scale. Having easily accepted that, I was faced with the option of looking at the world from a more micro viewpoint; is there anything I can do within my community that might help a few? And that was my pitch to my friend, look closer to solve problems.
My wife, Pearl, has engaged in numerous charitable organizations since she retired as a special education teacher. One of those charities was a reading literacy program, whereby she met a woman each week in a library to help her to learn English. Later, Pearl learned that the woman had passed the citizenship exam to become a U.S. citizen. I bet earning U.S. citizenship was life-changing to her.
Speak with anyone who drives for Meals on Wheels, and you’ll learn that volunteers do so much more than hand someone a meal in a box. Often, the volunteer driver is the client’s only personal link to the outside world on a daily basis, a person who can observe changes in physical and mental health and rapidly do something about it. That’s life-changing.
As I’ve written about in the past, it takes work to volunteer. Organizations need money, and many would rather you write a check than offer your time. But there are groups out there doing good work who are looking for someone just like you. It may take a little time and effort to find one, but hopefully, you’ll ultimately find that changing the world one person at a time is just the elixir that you need.