Everyone has a role to play in life, and years ago I decided that my time here on the earth would have to be spent making it better than I found it. I was fortunate to find Hands On Tampa, a start-up volunteer program where I was living in Florida, and jumped ship from the corporate world to be introduced to the power of volunteers, a power that reached further than I understood.
Volunteers are changing the world. Just in the last year, Jersey Cares volunteers have collected 40,000 coats to warm struggling neighbors, tutored hundreds of children, created over 1,000 murals to give young people more invigorating learning environments, and in total contributed 40,000 hours to making communities and lives better. That’s just in New Jersey and just through Jersey Cares. There are countless others giving their time, effort and skill across the country and throughout the world, and that impact is critically important and needed.
But what we do, what you do, goes beyond the meals that are served or walls that are painted. There is a profound change that happens simply because we – all of us – volunteer.
When we get involved, when we volunteer, we learn about each other. We put a face on homelessness; we know the smile of a person who on a given night may be sleeping in the cold. We give an identity to poverty; we know the name of a child whose mother will run out of options when her welfare checks stop. We learn about our neighbors of other religions, other ethnicities, other political parties, who stand next to us in partnership to make a drab classroom into a place that students want to be.
And as we come to understand and respect one another, we become a community, working together to solve our challenges.
That’s what Jersey Cares does. That’s what volunteers do. And that’s why your involvement is so important.
If you have not yet found the way, the time, the place or even the motivation to get involved, please accept my invitation to join one of the many opportunities available through Jersey Cares or the organization of your choice. It’s possible, it’s important, it will change the world and, I promise you, it will change your life.