Just Give It A Try…Posted on March 29th, 2011.
Hi. My name is Ali Schlageter and I’ve been part of A Good Idea since the very beginning. I’ve been doing “this kinda of work” for over 15 years now. I don’t even always know what I mean when I say “this kind of work”, it could mean passing out sandwiches on Haight street when I was 14 and in high-school, to organizing sit-ins against homelessness in college, or analyzing homeless policy in the halls of San Francisco City government offices today; And of course there is my work with A Good Idea. I feel like over the years I have learned countless lessons, but I always come two conclusions 1) I am glad I gave “this kinda work” a try and 2) I wish others would try it too.
During my years as a college student, volunteer, and what I like to call a “hardcore (wanna-be) activist”… I knew volunteering and community work was great and I knew I wanted more people to care about it. As a matter of fact, I would get angry when I realized how many people didn’t, in my opinion, give a damn at all. How could they not care?!? So my approach to get others involved? Why guilt them into it of course! All I would have to do is read off countless statistics of how many homeless people lived in the U.S.A, the richest country in the world. Or even more localized statistics of how many kids slept in a small shelter in my college town of San Luis Obispo. I was sure that would do the trick. People can’t ignore that stuff, right? Those sad and depressing stats would go straight to their heart strings. I didn’t usually get the result I wanted. What I learned during college, and more and more recently, is that the guilt approach doesn’t work, and it shouldn’t. Sure some people will donate because they might feel bad, but guilt usually never leads to volunteering and it almost never leads to empathy.
I now know what gets people involved is when they simply decide to give “this kinda work” a try. When I was 14 and in high-school, it wasn’t guilt that made me volunteer for my first time, it was just my willingness to give it a try. So I say to you, give volunteering a try, with us AGI !, at least once and I have a feeling the impact will be greater than you can imagine. Just give one conversation with a homeless person the chance to change you, or one interaction with a volunteer the chance to inspire you, or one opportunity to open your mind and heart to connect with a stranger the chance profoundly move you.
Give it a try, something new, something different, something fun. Just give volunteering a try, once. You never know, this “kinda work” may be something so inspiring that you’ll never want to do anything else again. And if that’s the case, you’ll know exactly what happened to me.
Your Next Chance to give it a try….