I think that part of OYFP's goal in promoting volunteerism is to encourage a sense of community and a sense of belonging. When you volunteer, you feel connected. When people feel connected and invested in a place, they are kinder to those around them. When people are kinder, we all feel good.
Why this bout of optimism and community-loving? Last night my 15 minute commute turned into a I-can't-get-up-this-hill-to-my-house-so-I-went-the-wrong-way-down-a-one-way-street-and-still-got-stuck-on-a-teeny-hill commute. I'm in the middle of a side road, tires spinning, and no idea how I was going to get myself out of the situation. I called the boyfriend - no dice. I called the best friend - she's downtown. I called the best friend's boyfriend - he doesn't answer.
I tried asking the garage down the street for sand - bad idea. Harry's Automotive in Brighton Center wasn't going to give me a cup of sand out of their hundred gallon drums, no way Jose. They needed every last grain. I think they just wanted me to pay them $100 bucks for a 25 foot tow.
Instead, a kind denim-clad and pierced couple stopped when they saw my tires spinning. Another woman lent me her shovel. They helped push my car up, shovel out a space, and helped push the car again so I could parallel park. I begged them for their address so I could give them some homemade cookies, but they refused. Maybe they're vegan, maybe they're scared that I'll stalk them, or maybe, just maybe, they were being just plain nice.
Whatever the reason for their kind actions, I'd like to think that OYFP's work helps encourage that sense of community, that sense of belonging to a place, where you would help a stranger just because you wanted them to be ok.
When was the last time you helped a stranger?