I have always liked to consider myself a good person. I have never broken the rules, I have pretty decent manners, and I have volunteered in the past. Looking back, I always enjoyed the times I have devoted to volunteer work, however I realize my motives were a little less than selfless. After my Bar Mitzvah, I lost my connection with volunteering. Yes, I, like many of you, had to volunteer and give a big chunk of my bar mitzvah money to a charity of my choice. And just like any other 13 year old, I was upset because that extra few hundred dollars could have bought me whatever gadget or gizmo my little heart desired.
I always seem to have ulterior motives when it came to donating my time. In high school, I felt like I was being forced into volunteering. Whether it was for National Honor Society to help my college applications or to get extra credit for class, volunteering just to volunteer never really crossed my mind.
When I started my job here at Yad Ezra, I was introduced to a group of volunteers who volunteer because they truly believe in what they are doing. They cannot bare to see hunger deprivation in our community, and they know that any of their help can lead to accomplishment. What I have learned since starting my job is that volunteering can be fun, self-changing and, in my opinion, the most rewarding pleasure there is!
There are so many places to volunteer, so make sure you pick one you feel passionate about. Go weekly, or monthly just to make connections. These strong bonds with the less fortunate can help a person tremendously.
As members of the young adult Jewish community I understand many of us do not have the funds to give donations and, yes, $18 is nice but give an hour of your time instead— it will go so much further than any amount of money could ever go.
We all have grown up a lot since our middle school and high school days. We know the difference between right and wrong, who has and who doesn’t. Volunteer because it is the right thing to do, not because you have to.