Thursday, November 15, 2007
Volunteering in Canada: You feel like you are doing a job that someone else would do if you weren't around. You are not so much helping people in need as you are helping over-worked (paid) staffers. At least, that is how I feel about the food preparation gig I am getting with Phoenix Youth. They say they have a vacancy on Tuesday nights! How fortuitous, exactly the day I am available. What does that mean? That the kids have previously not been eating on Tuesdays, and because I have now volunteered to cook for them, they will finally be relieved of their weekly fast? No. It just means somebody on staff gets to go home earlier on Tuesdays. Same feeling at Sunday Suppers: yay, lets go walk some plates around on trays and feel really good about ourselves. Well, you know, it is not a very difficult job, and you know, if you weren't there, somebody else would be available to do it. I am not advocating for laziness and staying at home instead of getting out and helping something. Organizations really would not survive without volunteers. But do limit how much you feel good about yourself for doing something very minor. Perhaps our standards for actions that would make us feel good about ourselves should be higher. This leads me to my next sub-heading: Work that is not being done: It is a bit harder to think about those ideas, isn't it? Most of all, if you are doing so with the intention of following through on one of your ideas. I have heard about child-care collectives starting up in this city, so that single parents can become involved in social justice movements, just as much as anyone else. I have wondered about funding options for students from the global south wishing to study in a different country. What would it take to get something going? So many things. But for now, Phoenix Youth on Tuesday nights. I am not sure if I am punishing myself, or thinking about the future. I am in Canada and I wonder where all the money goes... families still get torn up, vulnerable people still get ripped apart in the modern scheme of things. And where are the people with ideas? On that note, maybe next time I post it will be about a certain idea that has been festering in my brain for a while now. Cheers!