For months now, our public space has been flooded with messages and images that divide us – by race, religion, region, economic status, national origin, party affiliation, gender identity – once you start looking for “the other” the list gets long fast.
Yesterday morning at our Board of Supervisors meeting, I was vividly reminded that there is another narrative about our community and our nation that is grounded in this greater truth: it is our choice to meet each person in front of us as a stranger, or as a neighbor.
Ching Brodsky is a Literacy Volunteer matched with a young man in our local jail. When he was 10 years old his father pulled him out of school to work the fields to help feed their family of 8. Together, he and Ching work diligently to catch up with the education that poverty and hunger robbed from him as a child. They are not strangers – they are a team with a goal that he will have the skills he needs to succeed in our community.
Every day in this community and across the nation, volunteers reach out across differences and embrace people they do not know – yet. The impact of this kindness is immediate and personal, and also can shape a community in big ways.
Theresa Carino was scarred by burns as a child and struggled with teasing, bullying and self-image as a result. As the founder and volunteer Director of Salud y Carino, hundreds of middle school girls in Live Oak have a chance to learn, take action and live healthy lives thanks to this innovative afterschool program. They are inspired by Theresa to love themselves, support each other and give back to their community.
These are stories of 2 of the 14 local volunteers awarded a Daily Point of Light Award at the Board of Supervisors this morning. You can read many of their profiles on our storyboard. Every one of these remarkable people is skillful, humble and joyful about their volunteer work. Because they choose to see neighbors instead of strangers, our community is a better place for all of us.
Although the causes they volunteer for are different, they are united in demonstrating the power that comes when we act for the common good. What choice will you make today? If you would like to embrace community good, we are always here to help.
This month we have created a quick list of ways you can reach out with kindness. Check out how you can brighten a day, share a moment, or take a small volunteer step that has a huge impact on the life of another.
Blog Post Written by Volunteer Center Executive Director Karen Delaney. Karen has led the Volunteer Center for more than 30 years and is an internationally recognized leader, trainer and speaker in the field of volunteerism, community building and nonprofit management. Karen’s formula for success is “hope, fun, curiosity, gratitude, belief in people and good data.”