When I was 14, I had a consciousness raising. The song Do They Know it’s Christmas was released, to raise funds to help relieve the Ethiopian famine. It was the first time I had an awareness that I could make a difference in the world, and it changed the course of my life. I decided that I wanted to spread love and make earth a happy place to be. Over time, I have refined what love means to me, but it’s a guiding principle.
There are a few issues that I work to change and make better for us a society: food, housing, the environment, women, children and animals. Sometimes they are all interconnected, other times not so much. The volunteer work I do revolves around those areas. The political causes I support are based on those as well. The older I get, the more I realize one voice can make a difference. I have seen it-and continue to see it. I remember the one man standing in front of the tanks in Tiananmen Square. He made a difference. We all can.
Find a cause you care about. One of my pet causes is hunger. I would love to see hunger end in Sioux Falls tomorrow. One way to do it, is volunteering with the Banquet and serving meals. Another is volunteering to fill backpacks for Feeding South Dakota’s Backpack Program. Everyone has something that jazzes them. Find yours, and see what opportunities are available. Most organizations would love to have you.
For us, it’s a family thing. I look for opportunities for us to serve together. Sometimes it’s serving meals, other times its stuffing envelopes. There are always groups that need help. My son is a Boy Scout, and he needs to get in service hours every month. I am always on the lookout for ways he can get involved. Recently, he volunteered as an usher for Les Miz, and helped at the downtown duck derby. As he gets older, I hope he continues to serve others because we are commanded: what you do for the least of people, you do for Me.