I was driving past The Ohio State University campus this morning, and I noticed that on every corner stood a guy handing out pocket Bibles to the students walking past. I remember these guys from my time at OSU. I always took one, and thanked the guy; although I saw plenty of people ignore them, and a few students get outright hostile towards these folks.
I am honestly amazed at their willingness to give their time to stand there and take abuse from students. They receive no real reward (that I know of) for this service. I'm assuming that they do it because they honestly believe that they're helping. Whether it's making converts, or just spreading God's Word, or what have you ... They believe passionately enough to do something for no real reward.
Watching these guys stand there, quietly passing out Bibles, I realized that there is not one thing that I would volunteer for. None of my beliefs are so firm that I would sacrifice time, dignity, or effort for them. I sat in my car admiring these men who had convictions strong enough to motivate them to action. Admiring, and envying.
My mom does a lot of work with volunteers, and volunteer organizations. I've never made a tremendous effort to understand all of what she does. But I do know that she has a lot of success with volunteer organizations, and companies looking for ways to attract, retain, and motivate volunteers. She's as successful as she is in part due to the large number of people who are willing to donate time and energy for something they believe in.
I've thought about getting involed with some sort of child-mentoring program. I'd very much like to be a Big Brother kind of figure, and help kids through some of the rough spots of their development. But my own youth was less than shining, and I'm afraid that most professional mentoring programs would quickly screen me out.
What things do you feel strongly enough about to donate your free time, and spare energy, to help support?