Wednesday, April 14, 2010

What’s in it for me?

Not everyone understands public service.

When I explained my project to my father his response continued to be, “But you don’t get paid to do it.”
To which I responded, “Yeah, that’s why it’s called volunteering…”

My father, who I love and respect, has never really understood my desire to help others. Growing up in a middle class family, I never lacked for anything I needed and I often got what I just plain wanted. Even in tough times, I realize that I had it pretty damn good. I also realize that not everyone has the opportunities and support that I have had.

There are many people in my position. We go to work, we mow the lawn, and we zone out in front of the television. Yet, so few of us – myself included – have really taken the time to give back for our good fortune. It seems that people either perform public service as a resume booster, or because of a court order, thus, defeating the purpose. There may not be any real altruism in this world, and I am certainly not claiming that I am altruistic.

This Friday, a friend and I will volunteer for HAVEN, a resource and shelter for victims of sexual and domestic violence. I will be organizing an evening activity with the children and families with the help of the staff.

Hopefully, the only thing in it for me will be spending time with some great people.


  1. Ayn Rand contended that there is no such thing as altruism, that we all do things for the reward of it,even if the reward is just feeling good about ourselves,or guaranteeing a place in heaven. Whatever. It's good for the soul and I applaud your efforts.

  2. As reporters, we are in the unusual position to see things we would never see in our personal lives and that many others may never get to witness — while getting paid for it. This project takes that to a new level where you won't just be talking to people about their experiences and sharing what they tell you, but you'll actually get to have the experiences yourself and feel how they change you. It's nice that you'll be a journalist taking those steps out of the comfort zone of being an observer and really get into the "story" yourself. I'm proud of you & excited to be a witness to this!