I <3 Volunteering

February… The month of LOVE!

Let’s just say for a moment that instead of thinking “éros” love (Greek word meaning “love, mostly of the sexual passion”), we think “agápe” love (Greek word meaning “love: esp. brotherly love, charity; the love of God for man and of man for God”).

Éros: He gives her red roses (meaning romantic love) in the hopes that she feels the same way and will reciprocate in some romantic way (otherwise he’s going to be miserable for a week).
Agápe: The florist gives her an arrangement of flowers for her presentation table because she knows she likes flowers and can’t afford to buy them herself, no payment expected.

But wait! That second scenario sounds a lot like volunteering (“an altruistic activity… intended to promote goodness or improve human quality of life”). Could it be that volunteering can be equated with love? “Volunteering… There is no financial gain involved for the individual… It is helping, assisting, or serving another person or persons without pay.”

In some countries volunteering is a normal part of everyone’s life. If you were given a chance to play “Minute to Win it” and raise money for a charity, it wouldn’t be hard to think of one, because you probably sent them a cheque last week (yes, in other countries people also still use cheques). However, in South Africa, volunteering seems to be a misunderstood concept and it’s considered remarkable when people actually do it (and you can’t use cheques to pay for anything). I’ve had people ask me, “How much do you pay your volunteers?” !!?????!! “They’re VOLUNTEERS, we don’t pay them, they do this because they love it.” And we’re back at the starting point: LOVE!

So how can you LOVE / VOLUNTEER this month? I have a few suggestions…

  • Drive to a local school, park outside and pray for the children and teachers there
  • Help out at a school Christian group (do you know how many young people have no Christian role models in their lives?)
  • Sign up to be a camp leader
  • Go to the training and become a lifeskills facilitator so that you can impact the lives of young teenagers
  • Offer to do the administration for the next SU event
  • Serve the refreshments at the next SU Holiday Club in your area
  • Make a meal for an SU staff member or an SU event
  • Transport (or arrange transport for) children (and other volunteers) to the next SU camp in your area
  • Are you in Matric and keen to take a gap year? How about joining SU’s Trendsetter programme (contact the Training co-ordinator for application forms and info)>/li>
  • Contact your local Scripture Union office and find out if they need help

So whatever you choose to do with this month of love, I challenge you to volunteer somewhere (and your cheque is NOT in the mail).

Diane Evans
National Training Co-ordinator

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