I am certain that most community-minded people who read Boyle McCauley News already participate in community events, and many of you volunteer in some capacity. I wanted to share my admiration for those of you out there who are doing just that, and for those who are in the pre-contemplative or contemplative stages of activating your “doing for others” muscles. I know that it takes a lot of courage and energy to pause the battle of focus and work of bettering one’s own situation, trust me. I recall when I was a starving musician/artist, and thinking, “It must be nice to have the time and luxury to do things like volunteer and explore places and people.” Naïve as I was, I didn’t realize that I had the equation all wrong.
I finally decided I would try to volunteer and get some experience and beef up my resume! Maybe I would find out if the type of job/work was for me! As it turns out, almost 20 years later, I’m working full-time in the field of social development (support/arts/rec/mental health/youth/wellbeing/empowerment).
The lesson I needed was that volunteering wasn’t something I could afford to do, but rather it was something from which I really gained. Call it “spiritual exercise.” Through helping out with a small set of tasks I was good at already, I began to see the joy and happiness in the faces of people who were facing tribulations which I could only imagine. The time spent learning about their stories, and the others who were working to help them to find a better life, showed me that what I gave to them paled in comparison to what they gave me.
So, the Annual McCauley Community Clean Up and Heart of The City volunteer positions are not just a way to give back, but a way to grow, gain, and learn – to being better connected, aware of more opportunities, and in touch with the amazing people and lives we each live.
Taro Hashimoto is the e4c Community Development Officer & Coordinator for Volunteers for Heart of the City Festival and Annual McCauley Community Clean Up. To register to volunteer, call: (780) 424-2870 email: firstname.lastname@example.org.