The Entertainment Industry and Volunteerism

In Creating Happiness by Barbara Jacoby

During the next week, more than 90 of your favorite TV shows on ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox will carry messages to encourage its viewers to get up off of the couch and volunteer.  A number of celebrity public service announcements will also air and if you are fans of “Desperate Housewives” and the daytime soaps, “All My Children”, “General Hospital” and “Days of Our Lives”, you will see storylines regarding the subject of giving back.

I must say that for me personally, it took awhile to figure out a way that I could be part of such an effort by utilizing some skill that I might have.  After all, lots of the opportunities that I would see needed certain training or knowledge that I didn’t have and sometimes were being held at hours that didn’t work with my schedule.  But I was not deterred and I finally found a group that was making blankets for children in distress.  The blankets are given to children that are in hospitals or in shelters or they are provided in holiday baskets or to children that survive catastrophic events such as hurricane Katrina.

This is ideal for me as I can make the blankets and still sit on my couch, often times watching my favorite TV shows at the same time.  I was excited that I had such an opportunity that I could do something to help within my own timeframe.  But what I found is that once I found one thing to do, I soon found a second one when I learned that the high school male lacrosse team in my area was raising funds for breast cancer research.  Although I wasn’t up to doing the walk or the run and I didn’t have extra money to contribute, I did volunteer to do a press release and find contacts at the local TV stations and newspapers in an effort to get publicity for the event.

I have also kept an eye opened for other projects in my local community and this coming weekend, Kirk and I are going to the local armory on Saturday morning to put together packages that will be sent to the armed forces overseas.  Some of us will write letters, some will pack the boxes, some will keep the items stocked, some will address the packages, some will complete international paperwork, etc. but the most important thing is that there is something for everyone to do if they choose to join in.

What I have found is that no matter who you are, you have the ability to do something to help others.  And there is no better feeling than the sense of accomplishment that you have when you give back to your community.  Many of us have needed help from others in our lives and we know how grateful we were when someone stepped up to the plate to help us.  I really hope that you will make the choice to volunteer during this multi-year initiative, “iParticipate”.  Your time and efforts will be appreciated so much more than you will ever know.

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