Thursday, February 7, 2008

Vicarious Volunteers

The idea of vicarious volunteers has come about from some of my own interests, passions, and positions concerning the welfare of our human family. For the last few months I have been plugging myself into several, 15 to be exact, different organizations within the Los Angeles area as a volunteer. It was a logical thing for me to do, seeing as serving others warms my heart and allows me to love beyond the confines of my apartment walls and neighborhood block. I presently find myself serving individuals in prison, in hospitals, at risk, and in crisis, as well as, those who are currently homeless, jobless, elderly, terminally ill, receiving welfare, and in need of mentoring. It is so easy to give oneself to another and yet what I've found at each and every organization I volunteer with is that they are in constant need of more volunteers.
Not only are there never enough volunteers, the one exception I've found being L.A Children's Hospital, but even if they had the number of volunteers they feel they currently need they could easily expand beyond their present capacity to serve more people and therefore need more volunteers!
I currently volunteer about 27 hours a week, with each week adding a few more hours as I finish one training and my scheduled volunteering shift begins.
I love what I do, I love all those I have the tremendous privilege to work with and I couldn't see doing anything else right now. Of course, I'm not earning any income! And seeing as most everyone reading this does not personally know me, let me be the first to tell you that I am not a rich man. I do not have a trust fund, nor do I have an inheritance. I do not come from a rich family, or have a sugar-momma. I do not even have a savings account or a paying job for that matter. In fact, I'm nearly $20,000 dollars in credit card debt with next to no money in my checking account. So, please don't let my love for service fool you into thinking I can necessarily afford to serve in such a way.
But then my roommate came to me one day with an idea. He'd been listening to my adventures in the volunteer world for several weeks and became quite intrigued by it all. As he learned more about me and what I was doing he started to think of ways he could help me. He started talking to a few of his friends and they talked to a few of their friends and pretty soon, believe it or not, there were several people who wanted to help me continue to help others. Vicarious Volunteers sprang from our discussions and the interest people had in what I was doing with my time. The idea is simple. Those who didn't feel they had the time to volunteer consistently could give what they felt they did have a little extra And those who were volunteering their time in service to others could allow these special friends to 'vicariously' live the life of one who is serving through sharing their experience with them. We are in the process of setting up a website and platform to inform others of our idea and how they can become a part of it. I look forward to telling you all much more about it as it continues to develop in the next few weeks and hope you find as much interest in this idea as several people close to me have seemed to already. Thank you for your interest and time. Take care.