Helping St. Louis

A Blog About Helping Each Other

Posts Tagged ‘Volunteering’

BBQ and Desert

Posted by Schevus on March 23, 2009

Yesterday I and other members of the Shalom Outreach Society served a dinner for the women at Shalom House. We served lasagna, salad, and garlic bread and everything turned out great. I sat with a couple of the ladies while they were eating and one of the women spoke with me about the normal course of meals they get at the shelter.

Apparently they get plenty of cheap frozen pizza, hot dogs, and, yes, frozen lasagna. If we had known this we would certainly have picked a different meal! The one exception to this poor variety of food seems to be Thursdays when a church group comes in and makes a better meal. The woman expressed to me that what the ladies would really like is some BBQ food – and desert.

I was struck by such a simple request, and I think a BBQ is something I really want to make happen before summer is over. I know that many of the ladies are diabetic, so that is probably why they do not get much by way of desert.

She also shared with me her difficulty in finding employment. She does not have a high school diploma or GED and she told me how at job fairs everyone is talking about resumes. Somehow I do not think that a resume is all that practical for someone who has not graduated high school and whose last job was working at Burger King. Perhaps someone should organize a job fair for lower wage practical jobs? Have any of you heard of such a thing?

Despite serving a meal the women get regularly they were very appreciative and thankful for us being there. It was a great experience to work personally with the clients!

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Youth Investment

Posted by Schevus on January 12, 2009

When I was in school (not all that long ago, despite how long it feels to me), there was not a big push from faculty to get kids involved in the community. All we had was a senior project that was supposed to be – but not required to be – civic in nature. I was not really active in my community until I joined the Air Force and was exposed to its “whole person” concept.

I realize that many schools were probably better than mine at promoting community involvement, but I think it is important that all schools plant the seed in the minds of students. Many colleges currently require community activity, and even more strongly recommend it. With Obama’s ideas about furthering civic investment in return for educational incentives, volunteerism among college students is likely to increase substantially.

As I have mentioned before, America’s youth offers a deep well of potential for community building. Additionally, those who learn the value of charity as kids are more likely to continue with it into adulthood. Volunteering is also a good way for youth to build valuable skills such as leadership, teamwork, innovation, etc.

Do Something is a site targeted toward teens to get them involved in their communities. This is an excellent resource for parents, teachers, or teens themselves who are looking for ideas. The site offer easy ideas and guides for many areas of interest including  animal welfare, disaster relief,  discrimination, education, the environment, poverty, and more.

Do you know of any other good resources for teens or kids interested in community involvement?

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Ongoing Charity

Posted by Schevus on December 30, 2008

With the holidays winding to a close many people will pack away their goodwill efforts with their Christmas decorations, not to be seen again until next winter. This is very unfortunate because charities need support year round – needs do not magically disappear with the end of the year.

One of the best ways to continue contributing throughout the year is to actually become involved with an organization. It is easy to write a check around the holidays and forget about it all again until next year, but if you are on the ground helping an organization it is much harder to simply break away from that.

One of the biggest complaints when it comes to volunteering is “I don’t have the time.” Much like the case with exercising, this is almost never true. It may take some organizing of your schedule and a sacrifice of some free time, but almost everyone can make time to do something.

I say sacrifice, but that is not necessarily true. I have a lot of fun with the groups I volunteer with and that keeps me coming back. No one wants to do something they do not enjoy, so be sure to look into groups and organizations that interest you. Aside from the fun, it also feels incredibly rewarding to make a difference in someone’s life. If you have never experienced the satisfaction that comes with volunteering, I strongly encourage you to try it.

Volunteering can also offer avenues for career building or advancement (though I discourage this as a primary motivator). I am a web developer and I have been able to put those skills to use in a volunteer capacity. It is very likely that you can find an organization that is in need of someone with your skill set.

So as this year comes to a close I ask you to keep your charity out of the closet and to continue sharing it with the world. Many people need it!

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