Friday, March 27, 2009

After years of neglect - volunteerism will not turn on a dime!

My observation in the last seven or eight years of teaching is that this young twenty generations was not brought up for volunteerism. If they don't get paid, they will not play. The next group up (those who were brought up before the Clinton/Bush years) seem to be able to understand it is not all about them. They are, in general, still at Church, they still organize community events, they come to games and school events unpaid. It is pretty pathetic to go to a school event and only have a handful of parents there (and even less teachers). Most parents simply drop their kids off and leave. Amazing!
It is a difficult thing to turn around.
Some say that it is because they are so used to both parents working- so they never saw THEIR parents.
Some say there is just a "need to be paid" to value them.
Most Catholic and good public high schools require a good amount of hours of volunteering to graduate. Eventually, many of those students see that their volunteerism will benefit society AND themselves. Some say that is forced volunteerism. Heck my first five or six times volunteering- my Dad went with me and so I learned to enjoy it.
Me thinks I am really glad that we have saved for my elderly stage. If there are no volunteers (and fewer children live anywhere near their parents - as my generation began), the money we have saved will keep us from being totally isolated.
Unless volunteering becomes the in thing to do- again!
Have you volunteered anywhere lately? How about your kids? Anything outside of your Church building?


RAnn said...

I'm one of those helium hand folks who, if anything, volunteers too much. At this point I try to limit it to places I have to go anyway (like reading at mass) or to things involving my kids (teaching CCD or Girl Scouts) In the past I've done other things, but right now, with three kids and a fulltime job, I really don't have time for more regular committments. OTOH, if its a good cause and if I'm asked for a one-shot deal at a convenient time, I've been known to say yes.

As a GS leader I've struggled to get parents to help and I've heard all the excuses about too busy with work/family/ etc. and I believe them. I've found that most people are willing to help with something at a particular time, if the time is convenient, much more than they are willing to commit to a long-term obligation. Unfortunately the lack of people willing to assume such leadership roles means that those who are willing get asked to do more and more.

Renee said...

Ugh, I typed up a comment and it disappeared.
Most of my volunteering (at this stage of my life) is at church or with my children. I help out with all three youth groups, I go with the high schoolers to a nursing home, I've gone with jr high to help at the thrift shop, I've been a greeter at Mass. I also volunteer with American Heritage Girls as well as my middle dd's theater company. I'll be volunteering at VBS this summer.
My eldest dd is a church nursery volunteer. Both sons have done service projects with Scouts. Dh is a Cub Scout asst den leader (currrently at training to be the den leader).