Being of service to others. What do you think? Are you involved in anything that makes a difference in the life of others?

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    Sep 28, 2007 6:51 PM GMT
    This is inspired by The last couple of Cancer forums. We hear from time to time about being or feeling like a minority as a gay man. We often feel jugded or out of place as a homosexual. I enjoy being of serive to other regardless of sexual orintation or any other form of racism. I think that helps in a way cause everyone that I encounter treats me as an equal.

    The last forum about priorities by Caslon inspired me to ask this question about how many of you serve others in your local community.

    Over the past 6 years, I volunteer a few hours each week in giving theraputic massage sessions to individuals recovering from cancer through a local organisation. It has taught me so much about myself and others and to appreciate the great health that I have. That I should not take for granted what I do have and be grateful for it.

  • Meathead508

    Posts: 244

    Sep 28, 2007 7:37 PM GMT
    Yes. I volunteered at a soup kitchen. Over a period of one year.
    The experience changed my life. Right now I have too many things going
    on, but look forward to volunteering again in the future. I almost forgot that I have landscaped several of my neighbors front yards. Two of them have won beautification awards, and the whole block has benefitted as a result. This was done at no cost to any of my neighbors. I was able to use materials such as fieldstones from a farmers field (with their permission) as well as plants that I divided from my own property.
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    Sep 28, 2007 7:39 PM GMT
    BRAVO to you guys that help others in any way.
    I have great admiration for nuturing guys and those that give back.
    Yes, I have volunteered for various things like that over the years as well,

  • iHavok

    Posts: 1477

    Sep 28, 2007 8:25 PM GMT
    Surprisingly for a corporation of the size of the one I work for, we don't do a lot of volunteer work. I tend to do everything they offer, which ends up being something new and different each month, which tends to be things like serving crab at a crab feed for the local women's shelter, giving plastic ducks stickers for the rotary club, and donating blood.

    I love how it makes me feel so i kinda try to find every opportunity I can, especially if it helps my co-workers do something they woudln't normally do.
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    Sep 28, 2007 8:27 PM GMT
    I have a vegetable garden with tomatoes, sweet and hot peppers, cantaloupes, and lots of herbs. I allow my neighbors to come help themselves. It really has served to open this end of the street up to a lot more neighborliness. Meeting and chatting over the veggie garden is fun for us all.

    I also do woodworking and refinishing gratis for my neighbors ....cuz I love to do it.

    Does that count?
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    Sep 28, 2007 8:36 PM GMT
    I used to do the tax returns for low income individuals and families. I really enjoyed it, and some of those folks had some pretty difficult returns. It is amazing that a little old lady who sells knitted baby hats can have such a complicated return. Anyway, I haven't picked it back up in a few years. Hmm...maybe it's time to do it again. It felt great to practically see a tax-stress headache leave someone's body and be replaced with a smile, especially if there was a refund!
  • iHavok

    Posts: 1477

    Sep 28, 2007 8:46 PM GMT
    I think virtually anything you can do to make someone's life easier counts Caslon. You sound like a great neighbor!
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    Sep 28, 2007 8:55 PM GMT
    Keep it up I love to hear things like this.
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    Sep 28, 2007 9:07 PM GMT
    I guess the point could be made that you can do a lot for people without having to make it "an event" in your life. Just be open to take a moment to do favors for people. Treat others as you want others to treat you. ...very simple. Then go about your business.
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    Sep 28, 2007 9:24 PM GMT
    I spend my free time on 7 non for profit charitable Boards of Directors, two Advisory Boards, and I Tithe... does that count?

    We help conserve wildlife habitat, save endangered species, explore the planet, help drug and alcohol addicts, reclaim wetlands, public interest lobbying, provide a wilderness retreat center, provide hospice services to terminally ill gays, provide street outreach services to gay teens, encourage sustainable communities and development, and provide scholarships and funding to encourage American students to study Science and Engineering.

    Although my Tithe does not go to my church, half of it goes to the organizations I am involved with, while the other half goes to other charities on a matching funds project specific basis.

    Yes, I like to think that those things make a small difference.
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    Sep 28, 2007 9:39 PM GMT
    I used to volunteer a lot during college for my fraternity. The last year or two, however, I haven't had a chance to do much volunteer work.

    I did work for Indiana Equality last fall, though, and helped elect some more progressives to the state legislature. Even though I was getting paid (it was an internship), I count that as helping others since it will help limit the possibility of a state constitutional amendment.

    In May, however, I will be leaving for two years of volunteer work in the Peace Corps. I'm pretty excited about that, and can't wait to make a big difference in some community in a developing country. I can't wait!
  • art_smass

    Posts: 960

    Sep 28, 2007 10:09 PM GMT
    I've been the YMCA Volunteer of the Year here. I've taught well over 2500 hours of fitness classes for free, one hour at a time, over the last seventeen years. I've been on the Y's Volunteer Advisory Board, and I'm currently sitting on another non-profit's board.

    I am slavishly devoted to volunteer work because it gives me something to be sanctimonious about, especially when I'm arguing with assholes who think it's everyone else's job to make the world a better place.
  • MikePhilPerez

    Posts: 4357

    Sep 28, 2007 10:22 PM GMT
    Reading all this, I feel I don't belong here. You guys are great.

    I have done some small things for people, but too small to mention here.

    I would love to work with some gay group to help guys with problems with there sexuality and stuff like that, so they don't feel alone and don't have to go through what I had to go through.

    Keep up the good work.

  • KenHendSF

    Posts: 23

    Sep 28, 2007 11:06 PM GMT
    I think there are many ways of being of service to others. You can actively volunteer on a regular basis, volunteer occasionally or even just participate in events that help other people -- and you might even have fun in the process.

    I volunteer for an AIDS agency that produces fundraising events for local AIDS agencies and feel rewarded by by both who the events benefit but also through meeting great quality people. And most of the events we produce are kick-ass. _KenSF
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    Sep 28, 2007 11:10 PM GMT
    MikePhil... nothing is too small and everything counts. Native Americans have a saying, "Mitakuye oyasin"... which is "we are all related"... everyone and everything on this planet is connected or related. What you do to or for one will affect the rest in some way.

    I'm in school to get my BA in Audio Engineering. In the meantime, I'm still working as a hairstylist, which I've done for 21 years now. My job offers a lot of opportunities to help others... Offering a hug to a client that's feeling down, finding the perfect wig for a cancer patient, talking to a client about helping the environment (which grew into a grass-roots organization back in my hometown in NC), listening to what they're going through and offering encouragement or the benefit of my own experience, etc. These are little things, but the change I see in each person is often huge...

    I also support various charities when I have the time or money to donate. Lately I haven't had much of either, but I'm working on changing that...

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    Sep 28, 2007 11:11 PM GMT
    I worked as a volunteer at the recent AIDS walk in Toronto. I have submitted my resume to work as a volunteer at the Aids Community of Toronto. In the early 90's I worked for a couple of years on a gay information and counselling phone line in Toronto. At times it could be very stressful especially dealing with people that were bordering on suicidal.
  • dfrourke

    Posts: 1062

    Sep 28, 2007 11:57 PM GMT

    My work lends to this on a daily basis as I work with over 2,000 18 year olds trying to make them "good citizens"...obviously I don't interact with all of them individually, but I am responsible for the program they are a part of on campus...I believe I help them in one way or another...

    Beyond that, I believe in volunteering my time with the following:

    - Sponsored a child in Philippines...through CCF
    - Work with newly infected people with HIV.

    - David

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    Sep 29, 2007 12:18 AM GMT
    I am a social worker for teenagers and I run for charity at least once a year.
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    Sep 29, 2007 12:29 AM GMT
    I think those that do "give" of their lives/time are rewarded many times as much in return. I lucked up on an opportunity to send a boy to school in Ghana (africa) for only $25.00 per month, and $25.00 more a month to help the school he goes to, pay for their new computer for the classes. Man at the wonderful messages I get back from the kids there in the school, I keep in nearly daily contact, they wanted my pic to put on the bulletin board. I've made friends now with the teacher and Head Master of the school. Its been really rewarding so far. The thing is that the needs are so many, one boy told of how badly their roof leaks in the rain and that all they needed was some plastic!!! the list is endless, makes me wish I was rich so I could go there with what they need to make their lives better. teach them how to build or repair their places. (I'm a builder on the side) They are so appreciative, and really smart too. Sometimes I have to verify with the school whats being told to me, and so far, I think I'm getting the truth. I recommend doing anything you can for others, its such a pleasure. anyone interested? maybe we could form a group for such a purpose, Hope you like this little story, who knows it could become a big one !!!
  • art_smass

    Posts: 960

    Sep 29, 2007 1:02 AM GMT
    I'm not sure if my volunteer experience has earned me any good Karma yet. However, the other day while I was at the Y, I saw this obnoxious kid who used to annoy me by incessantly dribbling a basketball in the gym while I was finishing up classes. I would give him the evil eye until he stopped, but then he would start doing it again the next time I taught a class. This went on for a couple of years.

    Anyway, I didn't recognize him at first because at twenty-one or so, he's lost almost all of his hair already. It couldn't have happened to a brattier kid.

    Maybe it was Karma?
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    Sep 29, 2007 1:33 AM GMT
    I miss the old days of the Jaycees. Great organization, but I got too old for the rolls according to the rulesicon_sad.gif Keep it going guys. Truly the greatest gift you can give is that of yourself in service to othersicon_wink.gif I will believe that to my grave.
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    Sep 29, 2007 3:25 PM GMT
    I love volunteer work but haven't had the chance to start up anything yet in NY. Before I moved, I used to volunteer a lot for the local AIDS organization. I also volunteered for the Literacy Center and worked with a young man who couldn't read or write (and he even had a High School diploma). I feel a kinship with people who can't read and write. They hide it from their families and employers, are afraid of losing their jobs, and struggle with telling the world. Some of them talk about "coming out of the closet" when they finally admit it to people. They get a lot of judgment and negative attitudes (stupid, lazy, didn't apply themselves in school, etc.).
    In the past, I also tutored a couple of Russian women. It's probably the most rewarding thing I've ever done.

    I used to make fun of people who struggle with literacy, and it's been quite a humbling experience. You'd be surprised to find out how large of a problem it is - mostly because people find ingenious ways of hiding it.
  • Aznraven84

    Posts: 21

    Oct 17, 2007 2:33 PM GMT
    I've done multiple types of volunteering through 4 years with Circle K (Kiwanis) during college and high school. Those years have been the most exciting days of my life. Seeing people that are in need and knowing that I was helping others directly or indirectly made me feel great inside.

    I don't really have too much time anymore to volunteer due to school and work now a days, but there are other ways that I do make an impact upon other peoples' lives. It's through communication. There are many people that has problems, for some, too much, and they eat themselves up in silence. I lend a listening ear to many people when in need or advice as well.

    If you don't have time to do something you can physically see as in volunteering, just communicate with people. Hear something new, tell something intuiging, just make others happy and wanted. Communication is passive action, and it makes peoples' days a lot brighter.

    I know this sounds like a hippy-loving message, but it's true. If you remember what your most problematic issue was in your life, I bet that you have or would of liked to, talked to someone about it; or just even a have cheery stranger talking to you. Whatever it may have been, it would have or had, made you feel a little at ease knowing you expressed yourself.

    Enjoy your day! icon_eek.gif lol
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    Oct 17, 2007 2:45 PM GMT
    Volunteering is rewarding and I recommend it to anyone.

    I used to help run a Gay social group for men new to the scene in London (17 years ago)

    I am now a volunteer phone worker on London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard, where we offer advice to the LGBT community.

    Over the years I have spoken to 100s of people and (hopefully) helped in lots of ways.

    Not only has it helped others, it has made me really broad minded and led me to understand more about my fellow man and woman.

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    Oct 17, 2007 2:45 PM GMT
    I recently danced and choreographed for Step Up 4 A Cure which raised over $2,000 in ticket sales alone. I also made sure that up until the concert the press and media got all of the information to promote the event. I've also already started working on next years event as well.

    It is actually this event that made me want to dance for real again!

    Each year i also do the Great Strides walk for the Cystic Fibrosis foundation and this year am going to do three of them. In my home town of Canton Ohio, Columbus, Ohio which is where i live now, and in Dayton, Ohio, where my best friend and her two children with CF live.

    I have deductions made from my paycheck. And monthly deductions from my checking account go to the UNHCR and YouthAIDS.

    I'm also doing the Nutcracker with Pontecorvo Ballet Studios which has many scholarship students and hosts a "Dancer's with Disablities" program. One of my "kids" in the party scene of the Nutcracker is a Type 1 Diabetic with a pump... i kinda have to keep an extra eye on her. My best friend's daughter, who is living with CF, is also one of the kids... naturally... she plays my best friend's kid in the Party Scene.

    Also, i have a tattoo of 6 purple roses and 5 pink roses representing the story of 65 Roses ( )as well as a kabbilistic formula for healing and the words "Sixty Five Roses" in Japanese on my left arm. When people ask me about my tattoos that is the first one i talk about.