I am going to prequalify this post by saying it is not a solicitation for a back-patting – anyone who knows me already understands I detest it. If you are telling me how good a job I did, or something like that, I immediately assume you are an ass-kissing non-contributor (team efforts are what it is all about), and you are immediately written off as such.
Now, on to business.
Some years back, I spent some time volunteering at a local homeless shelter called The Road Home. First it was accepting and organizing donations around Christmas-time, and later it was a stint helping shelter residents with navigating Windows in the computer lab (fancy that, a geek in a computer lab). I found the shelter well organized, the people thoughtful, and the majority of the residents grateful for the help.
I left town not long after, but continued to receive newsletters from them. I never felt like I was being solicited for donations, although there was always a little envelope in the package, so I made small contributions when I could. I always hoped those sums would go towards stocking up the computer lab, as I felt like having access to resume writing tools and email would make residents’ chances of getting out a whole lot better. But I always wondered why they had some schmuck (me) in there helping out, rather than placing more emphasis on the idea of using the internet to help the homeless.
It seems that very idea is now coming around.