Money Can’t Buy It
by Cassandra Tribe
Managing Editor and Staff Writer, Street Sights
(Read the May 2011 issue of Street Sights online: at http://bit.ly/kvwxa2
Stories include: Homeless Kids in RI, DCYF funding Cuts, Gotta Have Sole, Stepping Out, the PeaceLove Program and more)
April 13th found many of us at Twin River Casino as Serve Rhode Island honored the outstanding volunteers of the year from a variety of agencies. Before the ceremony, we all got a chance to mingle and meet one another. It was refreshing to be in a group of people for whom “helping” is a part of their life. It is easy, sometimes, to forget that there are others who give of their time and who believe that change begins with doing what is needed. Easy to forget because we are all in such need of volunteers and they are getting harder to find.
The joke is that “we can’t even buy a volunteer,” they have become so rare. The truth is that in times of economic trouble, the number of people offering their time and services plummets. You would think the opposite would be true, that in times of hardship people would reach for opportunities to do something charitable for the sheer, easy feel good buzz it provides but that is not the case.
Hardship tends to lead us into dark rooms of self-absorption and self-centeredness. We remain in the darkness until we can reconnect with the outside world and see that life has possibilities beyond our current moment. When we fail in seeing that we run into danger of hopelessness and self-harm, something Tom Deighan talks about in this issue.
We are only a community when we participate in each other’s lives. Our communities will only recover and retain their strength when we, seeing ourselves as a family, become involved in the process of change. This means becoming willing to show up, to offer help where it is needed as Nicholas Lowinger and others we have featured this month have done. All it takes is to become willing to extend yourself to offer help to groups you may have no immediate connection with-your second cousins so to speak. The diversity within our population is not nearly as important as the commonality we share as a community family. The issues we share as a community have an impact on our individual lives even if they seem far removed from our daily details.
More than ever organizations like Street Sights need your help. All it takes to be a good volunteer is the ability to be honest – honest about the time you can give. We are a part of your life, your community, your society and you are a part of us. Our struggles to provide for housing, healthcare, food and to safeguard basic human rights are not just about a certain population or minority in the community – it is something that we struggle to protect and provide for all.
Read the May 2011 issue of