Why Volunteer?

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Someone asked me the other day why I volunteer. They made some other assumptions but I’ll tell you the real story (as well as I can).

I’m also a writer and there is always talk about why you’re are a writer, who really is a writer, and what reasons are valid. The standardly accepted response is; Writers write because they have to. For me it’s not that simple. I could say I write because I have to, because I’m compelled to but I write to put my head in order, and I write to remember, and I write to communicate, and I write to understand things (like Didion). But mostly I write because I love reading and someday I hope to write something that will effect someone else the way that my favorite books have effected me.

I don’t have the same clarity as to why I volunteer. It’s partially because I always have. I started volunteering with my family when I was around 8 years old. Some if it is because I get to participate in pretty cool events, I used to usher to see plays or the ballet. Occasionally I’ll be invited by a friend. It does look good on my resume and that’s a real benefit. The first answer that always comes to mind is why wouldn’t I volunteer?

I think really though it’s how I feel when I happen to be in the right place, offering the right help, at the right time. When I feel like I actually might be changing the world.

Why do you volunteer? Are we all just crazy?

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