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Something to Raise Your Hand for This Winter

By Brandon Osborne

“I believe … that every human mind finds pleasure in doing good to another.”
Thomas Jefferson

For most, this quotation makes enough sense not to disagree.  But, what action do we take with the simple stipulation that it is true?  Some of us have volunteer or charitable associations that we do work with from time to time, but others with the desire of doing good don’t know where to begin. 

I grew up in a very volunteer oriented family so I had the benefit of being exposed to many charitable associations through church, boy scouts, sports teams, school clubs and my time spent in the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity at the University of Utah.  Now living in Boston, Massachusetts and have more relationships with the organizations associated with my vocation, i.e. Architecture for Humanity, as well as the volunteer work my employers encourage and foster, such as time spent at the Pine Street Inn volunteering for dinner services.

As part of my News Years resolution I have decided that since I have become somewhat complacent in, as Jefferson said, doing good to another, I want to reengage in volunteerism.  In order to find opportunities that will work best for me I have done some research to find out who to contact, and what opportunities are a best fit for me.  I thought, as my first act of service this year, I would share ways to contact a few of the programs I researched and have listed them below.

  • Architecture for Humanity http://architectureforhumanity.org/ 

    The greatest humanitarian challenge we face today is that of providing shelter. 
    Currently one in seven people lives in a slum or refugee camp, and more than three billion people – nearly half the world’s population – do not have access to clean water or adequate sanitation. The physical design of our homes, neighborhoods, and communities shapes every aspect of our lives. Yet too often architects are desperately needed in the places where they can least be afforded. 
  • The Boy Scouts of America http://www.scouting.org/

    The Boy Scouts of America relies on dedicated volunteers to promote its mission of preparing young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetime by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law. Today, nearly 1.2 million adults provide leadership and mentoring to Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Venturers.

  •  The Greater Boston Food Bank http://www.gbfb.org/ 

    In eastern Massachusetts, nearly a third of families in need say their children aren’t eating enough because they can’t afford sufficient food.

Even if one of these associations is not be up your alley, with just a little effort you can find one that really fits your interest as well as the amount of time you can commit to it.

“It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life, that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.”  -Ralph Waldo Emerson