Volunteering can be like a double edged sword. On one hand, we all know that volunteering has a variety of surprising benefits, such as helping you connect with others, increasing self-confidence, combating depression, teaching valuable job skills, and a dozen more. But on the other hand, we live in a “too busy” world. Everyone I know is “too busy”, and I recently realized that maybe as a society we are driven towards being driven, meaning, if we’re not doing something, we feel like we’re wasting our time. I know I certainly feel that way. So when we consider volunteering our time or energy, we fall into the mindset of “I can’t do [task], because my life is already so busy.”
But then there is another side to consider. Sometimes we feel powerless to do anything. Some of us have obvious skills that are in great demand – I don’t know what I’d do if it weren’t for the graphic design genius of Lorah, or the tax know-how of Stephen, or the web developing smarts of Dave – but some of us have less obvious areas of expertise that we can use to help others. And of course, there is that weird little voice in the back of our heads that somehow convinces us that our age has something to do with how much impact we can have on the world.
Let me tell you: I am twenty-three years old as I write this. For those of you who are teenagers looking at this site for help or advice, you may think I’m ancient. I don’t feel it. Truthfully, I’m often surprised that I’m even allowed to be the President of a nonprofit. There is this nagging voice in the back of my head trying to convince me that I’ll be more impactful when I’m older and people will “take me seriously.” But you know what? People already take me seriously. I’m the president of a nonprofit! A nonprofit that I started at nineteen! In fact, history shows that many of the “time-changers” were youth. Look at the civil rights movement, or the anti-war protests in the ‘60s and ‘70s. So many of those who went down in history for changing the world were youth.
And then, for those of you who are older than twenty-three, I bet you have that same voice in the back of your head that’s telling you that you’re too old to make a difference. That “kids these days” won’t be able to connect with you, or that you’re too stuck in your ways, or you’re not tech-savvy enough. You are the generation that I look up to. People like me desperately need your wisdom in order to change the world. Don’t ever for a second think that you’re too old (or too young) to make a difference. Afterall, many of you WERE those youth who made a difference during the civil rights and anti-war days!
Anyway, sometimes in addition to feeling like we’re too young or too old to make a difference, we feel like we have nothing to give. This may be especially true to those who consider themselves artists. Traditional art, digital art, writing, poetry, music – all of these artistic mediums can speak volumes that mere words can’t. A hurting student could read a thousand pamphlets on living with depression, but they may finally find peace in a painting or a poem. Because of this, we have what we call the “Hallway of Hope”, which can be accessed under our “Media” tab. We’re really working towards filling up that hallway with artistic expressions to provide help, hope, and healing in a way that we haven’t been able to do thus far.
So if you are an artist of any age, please consider creating a piece for our hallway. We will link the piece back to you with full credit. Your work of art really can change someone’s life, so won’t you consider donating some time and energy towards Please Live today?