The World Always Needs You
It's all well and good to discuss the problems of the world on the internet. The internet and social media are great platforms for spreading awareness of issues around us we may normally have never heard of. It's an even more beautiful and recent thing that we have access to current events that are not written solely by partisan, mainstream news sources. There's a wide range of perspectives available on any issue, and we have the option to view it through many of those lenses. Reading the news is still not enough. If we want real change, we need to take further action.
We should utilize this knowledge to go out and help with the issues we become aware of. I do not just mean participating in one peaceful march and calling it a year. I think it's important to concern ourselves in the upper echelons of government in that way to legislation, but for change to firmly be made, we need consistency and concern for even the lowest levels of government and regular struggling individuals, like the homeless.
We can say there's little use in helping these individuals directly. That the real problem that needs fixing is within the fundamental blocks of government and the economy. But could you honestly say that to someone's face? I doubt it. Do we know if those structural problems can be fixed in the near future, or our generation for that matter, even if we tried? We do not know. So for now, I think it's important for us all to reflect on the time we have available to ourselves, and see if any of that can be used to help those less fortunate than us. While big government can take a long time to improve, immediate change can at least be made elsewhere.
For many, it could mean taking less time perusing social media to instead do something as seemingly small as calling and writing local representatives regarding issues they are voting on that week. It could mean signing up to your local volunteer center and working at the soup kitchen twice/week. It could even mean dropping everything you know for a while to volunteer on a farm through WWOOF or, with the right credentials, join the PeaceCorps. If there's something you've specialized in, you can help teach it. There's Big Brothers Big Sisters, an organization I've worked with and love very much. There's Teach For America, which gets young hopeful teachers on the ground in underdeveloped areas. You can walk dogs at an animal shelter. You can even push patients in wheelchairs at your local hospital. Honestly, there are a million ways to help those in need, but it first and foremost means existing politically beyond the internet and putting yourself out there.
I just signed up with newyorkcares.org to start volunteering in my area. I would be so excited to hear about ways in which you are currently helping or looking to help those less fortunate around you. If you have any questions or need tips for getting started, let me know. For now, here is a list of sites that can help you get started:
(for general opportunities near you)
(NY based opportunities)
(feeding the homeless VEGAN, ORGANIC meals in NYC)
(dog walking in your area)
(help local farmers across America)
(help local farmers across the globe)
(support children who need a role model across America)
PS: I don't mean to sound preachy in any way by writing this. This was largely a reminder to myself to stay present as much as it is a thought I would like to share with everyone else. Thank you xo
*Image above: from my WWOOF volunteer experience in Cortez, CO last October.