MY VIEW: Help someone; make an impression

Published: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 at 07:30 PM.

As I sat at the breakfast table and perused the newspapers over my ration of cold cereal and a cup of warm coffee, my eyes caught a few snippets about various fundraisers being conducted by the local high school band and chorus.

Our kids are helping themselves by giving of their time to earn some money to defray expenses of their respective organizations. (Note: the operative words here are “helping” and “giving.”)

As I thought about these high-schoolers, I realized that these words can be applied to folks of all ages, if they would only take a few moments to think about “helping” and “giving.” There is a tendency among many who, for some reason, do not want to get involved, but all that is being asked of them is a little of their time — no money, nothing else.

I have been a regular blood donor most of my adult life. Even when I was flying with the Air Force, and especially the Air Force Reserve, I, admittedly, broke a few of the rules when I would make a blood donation and then go off and fly a mission just a few hours later.

Now, all of a sudden, and thanks to a medical condition that hopefully will be neutralized in a few months, I am taking a blood thinner that prevents me from donating. (I am certain that the young ladies on the blood donor bus will miss my smiling face the next time they are at the local church’s blood drive.)

Last week, just a few weeks into the school year, I sat in a local elementary school’s media center — we used to call them libraries! — and listened to the faculty coordinator as she reminded some of us of, and introduced newcomers to, the workings of the school’s mentor program.

Granted, there was some paperwork involved, but the “bottom line” was the giving of time — as little as a half-hour each week that can be spent assisting an assigned student with his or her arithmetic — they call it mathematics now! — or reading.

Kids can be helped with their science studies, or a mentor can just sit and talk with the assigned student about any subject under the sun and just be an adult “friend.”

Some of the new mentors were a little leery about being effective, but it was emphasized that they will “get more out of the experience than they will ever put into it.” As an old — in number of years served — mentor, I could not resist telling of my experience as I once was walking through Walmart and had some former student come running up and almost tackling me, all the while looking back and yelling to his mother, “Mom, this is Mr. Bob, my mentor!”

These are but two examples in which one can give a little time — an hour every two months for blood donations, or 30 minutes or more for mentoring — and it doesn’t cost a cent! There are innumerable places where one can give of him or herself to help others in their times of need.

Why not take a few minutes to contribute to making this small piece of this planet a better place in which to live?

You will be glad that you did!

Bob Allen is a former Crestview City Council member who lives here in the Hub City.
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