Yesterday was Make A Difference Day. It’s a day to help people and volunteer. To be honest, I forget to volunteer. I don’t always get involved in my local community. Yes, I have worked in public schools. And yes, I did three years of Peace Corps service. But that doesn’t mean that when I living and working in my “regular life” here in the states that I’m actively involved in the community. I benefit from days like Make A Difference Day. I know the point of them is actually to make a difference for others and help out in the community, but because I am naturally a selfish being, I have to be reminded to make a difference in the community. It’s just the way I am.
So the way I participated in Make a Difference Day was through my fabulous university, Oregon State University. There’s an office on campus called the Center for Civic Engagement (CCE). They help people get involved in philanthropic efforts. It’s awesome.
For Make a Difference Day, the CCE had six different volunteer opportunities. I tried to sign up for two in the morning that I couldn’t sign up for (too many volunteers already) so I got my third choice. I had an afternoon shift (this was why it was my third choice) at Corvallis Manor. Corvallis Manor is a nursing home in North Corvallis. Our job was to craft. Seriously, we made both Halloween and Thanksgiving decorations with a few of the residents. It was great.But it was also tough. While I was there, I realized something: I don’t know how to respond to older people. I was never close to any of my grandparents. In fact, the only “old person” I was ever really close to was my Baba Masha in Ukraine. But that lady was old and sassy (similar to me) which is why the two of us got along so splendidly. So what that means is that I’ve gotta learn how to relate. I took a job at Dayton Grade School during the 2010-2011 school year to learn about kids with autism. Maybe now it’s time to put in some volunteer time to learn about the older generation. If I truly want to be the type of person who makes the world a better place, I’ve got to try to do this by being different that the selfish person that comes so naturally to me. I have to be better than that quirky, sarcastic, silly girl who worries about herself all the time. I can still be quirky, sarcastic, and silly, but I’ve got to learn to share that craziness with the right people to perhaps bring some diversity into their routine lives.
I know that Make A Difference Day is a national day of service. But you know what, I think every day should be Make A Difference Day. I think each one of us should be doing something small every day that will help make the world a better place to be. Because you know what, some day we’re going to be old and we’re going to struggle cutting paper plates with scissors while trying to make ghosts. And when that time comes, it would be nice to know that the students and young people that come to volunteer and help us cut out the eyes to go on the ghosts’ faces had better healthcare, better education, and cared more about the world and their fellow earth dwellers than you and I and thus, things were good.