The Need for Service and Volunteerism

Helping others inspires each of us to be more empathetic and think about people others than ourselves. Recently a teen in Hawaii worked with local politicians to create an edible garden, so that those who are hungry can pull food right from a public place and be satisfied with local, healthy produce. In this case, the young woman secured $10,000 and permission to access space from Kauai’s Department of Parks and Recreation. This project will be built in Kilauea, but it could be replicated anywhere.

Personally, some of my favorite projects are garden projects. They improve our lives in so many ways. Garden projects make the area around us more beautiful. They can clean the air and give people a place to walk, relax, and enjoy. In some cases, such as community gardens, people learn how to grow their own food and do so while developing connections to one another. In gardens such as this one in Hawaii, hungry people are fed. Imagine going to the park to watch a baseball game, then being able to take a ripe apple from the tree in the garden next door. What a delight!

Addicts are taught from the very earliest days of their recovery to engage in activities that help others. This might be a “12 step call,” in which a person with substance use disorder in recovery goes out to assist someone in trouble begin the recovery process. But not all service needs to be with or for other addicts. The importance of volunteering is that it stops us from thinking about ourselves and our problems for a short time. The trials of others may or may not be worse than our own, but we can all be grateful that we “only” have the troubles we have and we can all be encouraged and uplifted by helping others.

Gardens are meaningful for me. What is it that will get you out of your chair and helping others? If you have an answer to that question, start working on that issue today. If you don’t have an answer, try out various service opportunities until you know what motivates you.