HOT TOPIC: Volunteerism
Volume 3, Issue 35 - May 20, 2007

"Making a difference by volunteering one’s time, talents and resources is woven richly into the fabric of American character. From the early settlers and pioneers, Americans rolled up their sleeves, helped one another, and made a difference. Through the 1800s this tradition became more established, from charities to civic organizations. Even when our nation was fighting a Civil War, volunteers from both sides worked together to heal the injured and rebuild the nation. In the last century we see this tradition take on a newly activist tone through the progressive movement, prohibition, the New Deal, the Peace Corps, and the Thousand Points of Light Foundation. Volunteerism is as American as mom and apple pie.

Our youth have always had a particular charism for getting involved and helping out. Born into the richest nation in the world, it is a testament to our values that we raise our children to want to give back. Not only do they innately want to contribute to the greater good, they have an idealism and energy that fuel that spirit so that it can be propelled towards success.

A key factor in supporting volunteerism is making the connection between the people, causes and resources that need to be brought together to address contemporary social issues. The World Wide Web is uniquely qualified to do this through its real time communication tools and its multimedia delivery of content. Especially in Web 2.0 we’re not just able to post static content, we can now promote collaboration of like-minded volunteers and organizations online.

For all these reasons, I wanted to put together a D12 issue on volunteerism. With summer quickly approaching, now is a great time to engage students in ways to get involved, speak out, be heard and make a difference. Be it in politics, environmental issues, helping the aged, ill, hungry or poor, every community has a range of ways students can make a difference. And regardless of the age group with which you work, there are opportunities available for your students!

I hope you will find this week’s newsletter especially enlightening and empowering in the ways it can help both you and your students make the world a better place, both locally and globally."

©2007 Walter McKenzie

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