It's at my last year (and last term) in college that I have sincerely contemplated and thought about volunteerism. In the previous years, I hated it. Why? I'm not the type to go out and "explore lands", and "help others" by "volunteering" in events called for by different organizations. Why? Because I think that, though noble, they're too temporal and unsustainable. Too one-sided. I dream instead of helping people by becoming rich, then engaging in philanthropy.
I believe in supporting a cause that I really believe in, then going full-blown with it; not of volunteering just about anywhere the wind of volunteering blows, and at the end of the day, fooling myself that I was satisfied for that night for helping others, then forgetting it the day after. I'll just renew the "contract", and help again, then I'll feel good again, then I'll forget the feeling. Then I'll do it again to feel good for helping. But, it never really ends. The short-term needs of people are met; they are left there hoping for another wave of volunteers. Do they really obtain hope in getting a better life just from volunteers? My thought is that volunteering should end, because the need for it has been eliminated; that just means that people have become self-sufficient. That is what I want to see.
I have been "unsupportive" and "inactive" a lot of times because I lack the necessary appreciation of things; usually because I think that if something is not sustainable, why waste in investing? I'd invest if I'm sure about the thought already. I wouldn't want to join an organization and stay there for the "association" nor the company. It's the cause, not the friends you gain.
I'm lucky, though, to have finally "found" what I believe is a cause that I genuinely wish to support; that is the EDUCATION OF THE POOR. There are lots of poor people lacking the same education I have. The kind of education that empowers decisions, gives voice to people. The challenge here is that even those who are educated still encounter that problem; so, it mustn't be the kind of education that you can find in books. Maybe it's the kind of education about surviving in life, and succeeding. It's about the kind of education of finding out that you have that identity as a Filipino, as an individual, and you have a power to choose.
I wish to engage in volunteerism acts soon related to Education. I particularly want to teach. And, what I love the most about Education is not teaching technical subject matters; it's about empowering the minds of people, both young and old (particularly the fresh and young minds). It's about showing them that they have the capacity to grow, to absorb. The impediment of lacking the "materials" is a treatable illness, and the impoverished can still enjoy education beyond the books. That is something I want to see. That is a cause I would want to support.
Upon writing this, I've realized something about myself. I've been too inactive, too busy waiting for "that one thing", that I have missed out on experiences that could help prepare me for "that one".
Help--it starts early; do not delay it. Do not be like that servant who received one talent, and buried it on the ground, waiting for a "worthy cause" to spend the talent with; cos, in the end, time ran out for him, and that "cause" he was waiting for never came (Parable of the Talents). Maybe we are the ones who would create a "cause". Increases don't mean never losing a talent you have invested. It may be a part of the process. But the important thing is to use the talents, and eventually there will be an increase.
Another principle I've learned here is that what you sow is what you reap. Engaging in volunteer acts doesn't go without it's own rewards. The superficial benefits may be for the short-term, but the learning, the experience, that is something that builds up in time.
This is a new page in time. I hope to engage in this personally, and heave a great amount of learning.
1. Parable of the Talents - http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+25:14-30&version=NKJV
2. What you sow is what you reap - http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=galatians%206:7,9-10&version=NKJV