What Can You Do For Your Country?
January 27, 2011
@CitizenChandler in Gay Life, Volunteering

There is an interesting article in the January 31st 2011 edition of Newsweek that got me thinking.  Former general Stanley McChrystal has called on all Americans to serve their country.  Not necessarily in the military but instead by performing a service in their communities.  Focusing on young adults, McChrystal would like to see students graduating from high school or college take a gap year to perform service with an organization like City Year, Americorps, the Peace Corps, Teach for America or Habitat for Humanity.

While I think that all of these are great organizations and that giving a year of your time is something that everyone should do, I think McChrystal missed an opportunity.  Yes it tends to be the younger generation that has the flexibility to take a year “off” and perform service work, but there are many organizations that can help those who cannot devote an entire year.  The missed opportunity I see is that there was no encouragement of those in the working world to take some time and perform service in their communities.

The focus on a year of service may scare some off, but don’t back away from working in your community just because you can only give a few days a year, or a few hours a week.  There are plenty of organizations that can use your manpower and expertise to affect positive change in our communities.

Having worked with the YMCA for the better part of a decade I know what a great impact you can have on your community year after year.  I have greatly enjoyed my time working with youth, helping them develop leadership skills and the skills that they will need for every day human interactions. 

We are very lucky today to be able to go to Google and look up organizations in our area that need our help, but finding the right fit for you can sometimes be daunting.  Just keep at it, because there is an organization that needs your skills, and I guarantee you will walk away with a great feeling knowing that you have done something good for your country.

Don’t know where to start? Check out Volunteer Match, and here is a list of national organizations to help you on your way.



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