“You may not have much…but you do have your time.”

I have found myself searching through the crowds lately to find hope.  Hope that humanity isn’t all in just for themselves and for their own gain.  I search for the light among the darkness.  For people who give more than they take.  I am often drawn to individuals who not only see the glass as half full but also who try to find ways to give their glass away.

My eight year old daughter is a justice seeker.  Much like her parents she wants things to be fair and when something isn’t right she not only wants it fixed’ she also wants a proper apology.  I have been trying to explain to her that at eight, this is the “fairest” her life is ever going to get.  And more importantly to only look at someone else’s plate to be sure they have enough; not to see if they have more than you.

Alyse’s school was recently in need of lunch volunteers and I explained to her that if her teacher did’t need classroom help I might be able to help out in the lunch room.  Alyse quickly chimed in “That would be great…but you don’t get paid.” It was a great segway into the opportunities of being a volunteer.  We were able to talk about her soccer coaches, her basketball coaches, the parents that help out in the classroom and countless others that we see on a daily basis.  We spoke about the pride and joy one receives when they have given freely of their time and without the expectation of something in return.  Although not everyone has an extra dollar laying around to extend to someone else, we all have the exact same amount of hours in any given day.

I am awe of the retirees that have worked so hard over the years and don’t have to wake up everyday to an alarm clock yet they still fill their schedule with ways to give back to society.  They are the reading helpers in a classroom, the handyman helping a widow repair a deck, the ushers in church and the countless others that often go unnoticed.  I fully applaud the stay at home mom, who volunteers at the school when we all know she could use a moment to herself either with a great book by the fire or a shower that lasts longer than five minutes.  There are the career men/women who after 8-10 hours of office exhaustion gracefully put on their “mommy/daddy hat” to coach their son’s team because nobody else would do it.  Without these people’s time, our communities couldn’t offer half of what they do.

So although the media wants you to believe this election is going to change the way our country functions, the greatness of what the United States of America really is, I scream from the mountain top, “That is not so!” Our Southern Oregon Communities are great because of the people that live in them, not because of the buttheads that occupy our government.  I challenge you, at those moments when you feel helpless and begin to entertain thoughts that there is nothing you can do to ensure a better future; simply volunteer.  There are so many great organizations out there that would love to prove you wrong.  They will show you what an impact you can have on one child, one elderly citizen, or within a business. The opportunities are endless.

We hope too see you out there.  Making a difference one hour at a time.

–We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.  Winston Churchill

–Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart.  Elizabeth Andrew