Life Beyond Work

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“Wisdom is knowing what to do next; virtue is doing it.”

~David Star Jordan (1851-1931)

Educator, Author, Peace Activist

A fulfilling and satisfying life means more than the usual office-home routine.

A university friend I haven’t seen or heard from in several years sent me a message in Facebook last month. He was asking for information on volunteer groups so that he, in his own words, “has something worthwhile to do in his life.” Though his desire to be part of a socio-civic group might have been driven by wanting to have a social life outside of work, he could easily fill that gap by NOT doing volunteer activities. Yet he chose to share his time with others with the hope that by helping improve the lives of others, he improves his too.

Young professionals like him have the resources – time and energy – to volunteer and to actually do something concrete to help improve lives. I salute him and the yuppies who are like him.

This article outlines some of the volunteer services and groups I suggested to him.

Summer Volunteering

It’s that time of the year again when people go to places with cooler weather. Others choose to brave the heat and volunteer their time cleaning and preparing public schools for the coming school year. This yearly activity is called Brigada Eskwela.

Being a Brigada Eskwela volunteer means sweeping, dusting and wiping floors, windows, ceilings, and whatever surface there is. For the few days that you are part of a school’s Brigada Eskwela volunteer corps, you will do everything and anything with nary a complaint.

If you don’t know of a school looking for volunteers for its Brigada Eskwela project this summer, message me and I will get you in touch with school principals who are looking for able-bodied volunteers.

Travel Volunteering

If going places is your passion, volunteering in the places you go visit will certainly enhance that experience.

Travelling becomes much more meaningful and worthwhile when it is spent enhancing our knowledge on how other people, cultures are. A growing trend is the “travel with a cause” where solo or group travellers go someplace to volunteer their time and expertise.

With the Typhoon Yolanda-affected areas still recovering from the devastation, kind-hearted Filipinos and foreigners have been organizing their vacation with the goal of helping the survivors recover. Maybe you and your friends may want to support the Yolanda survivors by going to the affected areas and physically help in the rebuilding process, say, by collecting and delivering books to public libraries.

Create Your Own

Now if the existing plethora of volunteer activities and groups don’t float your boat, don’t worry you can still volunteer by creating your own activity.

You only need to look at the needs of the less fortunate in your neighborhood, and then assess your skills and capabilities. For example, are there a lot of children who are below school age in your area? Why not create a regular reading group? You can partner with your neighborhood religious group in organizing this activity.

If reading to kids is not your thing, then why not organize a group to collect donations for care packages and deliver them to orphanages, halfway houses, etc.?

Truly when a person wants to do something worthwhile for others, only our imagination is the limit to what we can do.

As an opinion writer, I tend to shoot of my mouth with ideas on how the government and so and so elected official should do this and do that. This after all is the heart and soul of being an opinion writer. But an opinion writer who is so detached from reality is someone who is as dangerous to the society as a corrupt politician. To ground myself to the reality of the Filipino masses, I go out and volunteer. By immersing myself to what is happening on the streets, in the boondocks, I hope that my opinions are with soul.

***

The Gerry Roxas Foundation & Gerry Roxas Leadership Awardees, Inc. invite you to the Leader’s Forum on May 24 3PM at Balay, Araneta Center. GRLAs Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte and DILG Usec Austere A. Panadero will speak on leadership & nation building. The Leader’s Forum is part of GRF’s year-long celebration for its 55th anniversary.

To confirm your attendance, text your complete name, high school & year of graduation to Jose Francisco “Cholo” Kawada at 0917-8824656.

Liza fancies herself a writer, but what she wants to do is to actually spend all her time reading what others have written. In the meantime volunteers her time for the Gerry Roxas Leadership Awardees, Inc. and Rotary Club of Makati McKinley’s charitable activities. Visit her Web site at thegirlninja.com, email her at liza@thegirlninja.com or engage her at http://www.facebook.com/annalizagaspar.

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