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Old 01-06-2015, 04:40 PM   #1
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A Kenyan's message to American volunteers

This is a look at how some of our over 1 million volunteers in Africa are viewed. Very interesting.

http://www.nytimes.com/video/opinion...&nlid=41613719

Several years back my nieces' volunteer group were doing car washes, odd jobs, selling candy and anything else they could find to raise money. The were going out West to do volunteer work on Indian Reservations. While they were gone I read about a volunteer group from Cincinnati that were in our town to work in the less fortunate neighborhoods.

Also, several years back my brother took a group of young volunteers down the New Orleans to paint houses. They had trouble fining anyone that would let them paint their home. (I don't blame them. It would probably have been a crappy job) So it turned into a sight seeing trip.

Deliver me from "do gooders".
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Old 01-06-2015, 05:43 PM   #2
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Deliver me from "do gooders".
Yes, you could call it tokenism.

However seeing young people wanting to do something for others not just themselves, even if it is a bit ineffectual, is surely a good thing.Don't worry there are enough business savy, hard nosed self interested people out there to balance it all up.

If they were my kids I would be proud of them(actually my youngest is very that way inclined).

The trick is channelling their enthusiasm in an effective way.
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Old 01-06-2015, 06:36 PM   #3
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The sentiments were good in all the cases I cited. The problem is determining what other people need that they haven't asked for. I guess if there was a point it was that there is usually plenty of need right near home. I have worked with volunteer groups for building homes and was a district commissioner for the Boy Scouts.

As district commissioner for BSA I worked with young men to help find a required project for the Eagle badge. They were sent into the community to search for a need. They were to respond to those needs. Some built hiking trails, some built handicap access to structures, and even one built a new concession stand and dug out for the community baseball field. They didn't knock on doors, and tell people they were here to do something for them. Then it was my pleasure to present the awards for their hard work.

I am proud of my nieces as they have all turned out to be very good mothers and citizens. Sometimes we get a chuckle as they look back on their trip to help the Indians. They have learned much.
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Old 01-06-2015, 08:21 PM   #4
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The faith based youth group I'm involved with does take an annual trip to Mexico to help out with a VBS week as kind of the reward of sorts for serving in our own community all year. Local homeless shelter is where we serve normally with "field trips" of sorts 4-6 times per year to local homeless "hangouts". Those field trips the kids make contact with our area homeless and offer them new socks, underwear, wet wipes and various other toiletries the kids saved up the money for and purchased with their own money. The homeless genuinely appreciate the practical gifts and companionship and it seems to foster compassion in the youth.

Most of the kids we've stayed in contact with have since become compassionate volunteers in their communities.
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Old 01-06-2015, 08:41 PM   #5
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The faith based youth group I'm involved with does take an annual trip to Mexico to help out with a VBS week as kind of the reward of sorts for serving in our own community all year. Local homeless shelter is where we serve normally with "field trips" of sorts 4-6 times per year to local homeless "hangouts". Those field trips the kids make contact with our area homeless and offer them new socks, underwear, wet wipes and various other toiletries the kids saved up the money for and purchased with their own money. The homeless genuinely appreciate the practical gifts and companionship and it seems to foster compassion in the youth.

Most of the kids we've stayed in contact with have since become compassionate volunteers in their communities.
Yes, there is plenty of need near home. The help out with VBS in Mexico is a great idea. I'm sure they could take all kinds of things to aid the group down there. That is especially if it was coordinated with the school in Mexico as to their needs.

At our local Builders Association we have a Community Action Program (CAPS) that we respond to requests from social services agencies to help out fixing and repairing homes for the neediest cases. Our Association has also contributed many thousands of dollars to various shelters. We have also adopted a couple of schools that call us when they need something. It is all quietly done.
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Old 01-06-2015, 09:13 PM   #6
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Yes, there is plenty of need near home. The help out with VBS in Mexico is a great idea. I'm sure they could take all kinds of things to aid the group down there. That is especially if it was coordinated with the school in Mexico as to their needs.

Yes it is coordinated months in advance with a local organization that requests the help. As there are typically more than enough youth to fill the need we coordinate to do similar work with the local poor as we normally do at home. The gifts are always well received but folks seem to appreciate the one on one attention more. A kind hand heals many hurts.
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