If you had all the time in the world to volunteer, what would you volunteer to do/where would you volunteer?
Recently I have had the pleasure of getting to know a new friend, @RobbieSamuels, who is incredibly active in social justice work. He runs a very successful MeetUp group: Socializing for Justice, is the Special Events Manager at Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), works with the National Organization for Men Against Sexism (NOMAS), and has speaking engagements on everything from activism to networking. With everything on his plate I wanted to know how he did it all. He told me “[You need to] have a SHARED vision of justice, but figure out what YOUR mission is. Do that really well & expect the same from others.”
This not only inspired me to think about my own mission, but also allowed me to feel as though I didn’t need to give my time and energy equally to all of the causes I believe in. I should be trusting others to live their own mission, and in a just world, our goals overlap. In having a shared vision of justice I am also encouraging giving from colleagues, friends, and social networks in ways in which I may not be capable to give.
In living my mission right now, I am seeking ways to get outside of my comfort zone, share my passions, and create a better place for myself and my friends to live in. These are the areas in which I would volunteer.
1. Getting out of my comfort zone
For as long as I have lived in Boston (5 years this July), a vibrant, beautiful, multicultural city, I spend a embarrassingly large amount of time in the space between Simmons College Campus (by Fenway park) and the State House (downtown). In seeking volunteer opportunities, I want to find ways to move outside of this small geographic area and interact with the larger (non-university) community. This means volunteering locally, but also volunteering internationally. I have always felt that getting outside of America is an amazingly eye opening experience, and one in which really makes me reflect on the bubble in which I live.
2. Teaching Tech
No matter what job I take on I can’t help but infuse a little bit of my passion into the work that I do. Tech is clearly one of those passions. I would be overjoyed to find a way to use my passion for technology for sharing with others, whether with children learning the ins and outs of social media, or for adults learning how to use technology to make themselves marketable. You will rarely see me more excited (perhaps even to rival the excitement of @sethodell ) than when I am teaching someone something techy. So integrating it into my volunteer life would be a dream come true.
3. LGBT Causes
In volunteering of my time and working toward a more just world, I inevitably lean toward areas that can have the most impact for my friends and myself. For me, that is LGBT Causes & TransRights activism. I often wonder if the choice I’ve made to stay in MA has more to do with the professional network I have started to create, or the wonderful knowledge that I can marry anyone I choose. Maybe one day I will move back to California, but I can tell you that I will feel a whole lot more comfortable doing so when I know that Prop. 8 is a distant memory.
What is your own personal mission & where would you choose to volunteer?