The true spirit of volunteering
by Maria Thomson
Mar 12, 2014 | 278 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Spring is only 10 days away, and daylight savings time has arrived. It is so great to have it lighter later. Also, you can feel the warmth of approaching spring.

In line with warmth, for the last three weeks my favorite newspaper, the Leader/Observer, has featured a Jamaica Avenue location on our Woodhaven Business Improvement District (WBID) as an “Eyesore of the Week” because of graffiti vandalism.

The WBID removes graffiti vandalism from our Jamaica Avenue, but due to the cold weather that freezes the paint used to paint over it and the chemicals to remove it, he WBID was unable to remove this graffiti during the storms and the frigid weather. So, this label of “eyesore” was unwarranted. As the weather warms, we will again on Woodhaven’s Jamaica Avenue be 98 percent graffiti vandalism free.

Also, if you spot any storefront locations or walls with markings, please call them into our office at (718) 805-0202 or (718) 805-0760. Our Woodhaven has the only business improvement district, outside of three in Jamaica in southern Queens. It took us seven years to get it, so be proud Woodhaven. Mark your calendar for our spring promotion with the Easter Bunny on Saturday, April 12, from 1 to 4 p.m.

Sometime ago in a letter to the editor, a truly eloquent testament was made to the noblest of unselfish giving: being a volunteer. This individual stated “to show support for some kind of worthwhile cause or organization in your area and also that you should contribute your time or talent.”

All of the local community organizations do need support and involvement to perpetuate what dedicated individuals have worked for and accomplished over the years. In my case, over a quarter of a century, in some cases even more.

When you are a truly committed volunteer you take time from your wives, husbands and families. You postpone trips or vacations and all of your free time is dedicated to community problems and the pursuit of their solutions with other dedicated organization members. Also, you place your organization and your community’s needs above your own personal interests.

What these longstanding credible organizations do not need are individuals who get involved for the wrong reasons, some being personal or professional interests, self-aggrandizement or the furthering of their own agendas or careers. It is truly unfortunate that organizations needing to recruit new members often are blinded by these individuals that initially obscure their selfish and indulgent goals when they volunteer.

Also, due to the dearth in volunteers, these altruistic longstanding members are often duped by these “new members” that use them to their own ends. Let us understand, volunteerism should be rewarded, but as a byproduct of volunteering, not as the reason for volunteering. The highest reward must be that you have improved your community and the satisfaction this brings with it.

So when you do volunteer, if you choose to do so (and I hope you do choose to do so), do it for the right reasons. These reasons should be to make the organization stronger, to target and pursue the problems in a community and work to solve them with your other organization members and your community residents.

Also, when you are revealed as being a self-indulgent and self-promoting individual involved for all the wrong reasons, don’t try to diminish the organization when you leave, for in doing so you diminish no one but yourself. To all you potential volunteers, please get involved, but do it with well-meaning and goodhearted intent. Volunteerism is rewarding, and as someone stated recently, “it’s good for the soul.” This is the “Value of Volunteerism.”

So enjoy the warm weather, spring is 10 days away. May God bless our leaders, may God bless our armed forces, may God bless our disabled veterans, and may God bless our America.

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