You are running late for work, trying to dress in a hurry and you pop a button on your shirt. You finally get on the road and traffic is a mess; you seem to catch every single red light. As soon as you walk in the door to your office and before you’ve had your coffee, the boss comes in to question your recent results.
As you sit there, you think “wow, it really sucks to be me today”. Really; in the big scheme of things do you really have it bad?
How I give back:
In addition to being a world renowned blogger* and holding down a full-time paying gig, I am a volunteer for an organization called Guardian ad Litem. I am the voice in court for abused and neglected children who have been assigned to me while they are in the ‘system’.
These children are in the ‘system’ for reasons typically beyond their control. Something pretty bad has happened to them for the state to step in and take over.
Just about every case I see involves drugs and/or sexual abuse. Most of the kids are already in foster care when I become involved. Trust me, the stories are just ugly at times.
You might ask, “why would you volunteer for something like that”? To me, it’s a way to give back in a small but hopefully meaningful way. I do feel I have been blessed and would like to play it forward as much as I can.
There is training required and I was sworn in by a judge. The judge said this is a very noble endeavor; just don’t get discouraged because most of these kids are already in a bad way. You won’t be able to flip a switch and make everything ok; whatever your frame of reference for ‘normal’ is, throw it out the window.
What are the rewards?
It is challenging at times but I feel if I can positively impact just one kid even in the smallest way, it will be a win. Maybe they don’t see it now but hopefully somewhere down the road it makes a difference.
These kids just want to be with their family. Unfortunately, most of these adults don’t know how to be parents and are clueless in how to raise kids. A lot of them are practically kids themselves.
How would you feel when you were 10 years old if someone physically removed you from your house and took you across town to live with strangers. Pretty scary stuff and emotionally unsettling, I can assure you.
The ‘system’ is not a fun place to be in. Most of the kids I see will have trouble making it as a functioning adult.
Being involved at this level does give me perspective. When I think I’m having a crappy day I just have to think what these kids are going through. They didn’t ask for this but they sure have to live it.
Can you make a difference?
How about you; have you told the important ones in your life how much they mean to you? When is the last time you gave them a big hug? Still think you are having a bad day?
The program is always looking for volunteers, do you think you could be someone’s Guardian? It certainly isn’t glamorous or pretty, but all it takes is someone who listens and cares. I find it has made me much less judgemental these days. Regardless of the situation I am less apt to pre-judge before I know the facts.
There are some kids truly hurting out there. Want to lend a helping hand?
Until you walk a mile in their shoes, right?
* Nah, still invisible……..