Diary of a 1L
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Friday, October 22, 2004
10:52 AM

What are some good volunteer opportunities around campus? I could stand to have something to do on these long afternoons that will make me feel good about myself. If you have any suggestions, comment or e-mail.

The hospital probably has a volunteer department. It's always nice to make sick people feel better! If you like animals then area shelters are always in need of help - and animals have a way of making people feel better! Or if you like building things then Habitat for Humanity is always a good one!

Check out http://communityconnection.osu.edu
It's OSU's official volunteer database. You can search for volunteer opportunities related to your interests or time schedule or a particular location. It's great!
Deliver books to nursing homes and the homebound on Fridays for Upper Arlington library, that's what I did.
There are a wealth of volunteer opportunities through IPC, the Inter-Professional Council at Ohio State.
Thanks for all the suggestions so far. I gave the OSU Hospital's volunteer department a call. I'm also going to look into tutoring type stuff.
no amount of volunteering will make you feel good about yourself--only keep you from acknowledging your own deficiencies
How incredibly sad is that last comment? Yes, volunteering may not solve every problem a person may have but it certainly can change someone's self-esteem. I've seen it happen to many, many people in a variety of volunteer settings. Whenever someone helps other person it helps that person to take the focus off of themself and it makes them feel good about themself just by knowing that they've made somebody else's day or even life better. Realizing that you have the power to change lives can very easily make you feel better about yourself. I suggest everyone try and find at least one way to volunteer and I think it is absolutely wonderful that Mike is looking for such opportunities.
Try a day at the Gerlach Center Sunday day care program for people with Alzheimers. It will depress you out of this volunteering instinct.
What is with some of you people? Volunteering is far from depressing. I've been around people with Alzheimer's before and found the experience to be quite rewarding. Not everybody is cut out for the same type of work - some people can't handle hospital settings while others thrive there. So some people may find being around people w/ Alzheimer's depressing but others can feel blessed helping. There's no reason to feel so depressed that you shouldn't volunteer - just find your volunteer "niche."
If the situations that spawn volunteer opportunities weren't depressing in some sense, they wouldn't require unpaid people to help. If there were no neglected old people, children who can't read, homeless people, or abused animals, there would be no volunteering. So yes, it is depressing. Especially considering that no matter what you do, it's really just a drop in the bucket. You might make an improvement for someone but if your activities are minor compared to the awfulness you witness, you feel a lot worse off than before you spread your sunshine. Volunteering is not for everyone.
Again, how incredibly sad?? I agree that not every volunteer activity is for everyone. However there is a volunteer activity for everyone. Again, some people may not like hospitals while others thrive, others may dislike children but like the elderly. There is something for everyone and it does not have to be depressing. What about tutoring children and you are responsible for that child learning and having a better future? How is touching just one life not enough to be excited about? How about going to a nursing home where it can be depressing but then making it a happier place for everyone there? How is that not an amazing, wonderful thing. I say a drop in the bucket is enough to be absolutely thrilled w/ - it sure means the world to the individual it helped - why isn't that enough to be excited about? There's nothing wrong with thinking the evils in the world are depressing but there is something quite disturbing about thinking that making a difference is depressing. You just have to find the right activity.
Some anon blogger writes (in defense of volunteering)

"Realizing that you have the power to change lives can very easily make you feel better about yourself."

What incredible egotism on the part of this blogger and all others who seek this sort of self-appreciation. Volunteer or don't volunteer but keep your own grandiose idea of self out of it. BTW, I have the same incredible power to change lives by driving my car up on a busy sidewalk. Mike-your blog attracts doe-eyed virgins to the real world.
Silly Podraza!
No, there is not "a volunteer activity for everyone." Keep your stinking community service to yourself and don't expect me to join. I'm sick and tired of people trying to impress upon me to give my time to others in the name of their communitarian ideals. Why should I sacrifice my time to make you think it will make me feel better? I can guarantee you it won't. My self-worth certainly doesn't arise by how much I sacrifice. It's not that I don't enjoy improving other people's lives - my career is devoted to it - it's that I intend to be paid for it.
Saying people should volunteer is very different than saying people must volunteer. Furthermore, it is far from egotistical to suggest that people can feel better about themselves for volunteering. People can volunteer for reasons other than changing how they feel about themselves and still end up feeling better -this isn't egotistical it is a wondeful byproduct from volunteering.

If everyone is so quick to realize how depressing the realities of disease/poverty/etc are why is it so difficult to see the joy in making the situation better? Why is it problematic to feel good about making other people feel good? Is the suggestion that people should feel bad about themselves for helping others?

It is a shame that some of you have such a pessimistic and self-centered outlook on line. It is perfectly fine to work for a living and not devote inordinate amounts of time to charitable causes. However, ideally (yes there is admitted idealism here) everyone "should" be involved in some degree in some form helping other people. Sometimes people's life situations don't allow time/energy/resources/etc for being formally involved in traditional volunteer opportunities and there is nothing wrong with this but this doesn't mean that volunteering isn't for everyone in the sense that there are some people who's personalities can't handle it which is the tone that some of the previous posts took. Everyone who is able to volunteer in some way should do so. And there is nothing wrong with feeling good about doing it and feeling good about yourself for doing it.
What career is that, Person With A Career Helping People Who Is Against Communitarianism? Do tell...
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