Volunteering to change the world

Changing the world is not a passive activity.  It takes getting off the couch, sometimes getting dirty, leaving your comfort zone and giving a part of yourself.  Last night I talked to an old friend whose daughter, a physician in residency in North Carolina, used her only vacation of the year to travel to Haiti to help.  This young woman (who works 90 hours/week) rode seven hours on a bus through the ravaged  countryside to kneel on a concrete floor beside injured Haitians to ply her medical skills for their benefit.  It made me think of the hundreds of JMU students, faculty, staff and alumni who similarly used their own spring breaks last week to  change the world.  They all volunteered.  Nobody forced them.  It was a choice they made that moved the world  toward betterment — one job at a time.  And this morning, I read about yet another JMU volunteer. Margaret Garono Rhodes (’81) recently volunteered to spend 13 months in war-torn Afghanistan helping to rebuild the country’s agricultural sector.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s news release: “The efforts of people like Margaret Rhodes are crucial for creating a stable, democratic and economically viable Afghanistan,” said John Brewer, Administrator for FAS. “Whether their expertise is in soil and water conservation, agricultural extension and policy, veterinary services, or marketing, volunteers like Margaret are contributing their specialized skills to help farmers, citizens and national and provincial government leaders of Afghanistan rebuild knowledge, institutional capacity and livelihoods. Together, we are providing the foundation on which the agricultural economy of the country can prosper and thrive and create political and social stability.”

If you’d like to read more about Margaret’s volunteerism, here’s the link:  http://www.fas.usda.gov/scriptsw/PressRelease/pressrel_dout.asp?PrNum=0059-10

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About James Madison University
This blog is about the people of James Madison University — a caring, committed and engaged community spread all over the world, making lives better and brighter, healthier and safer, kinder and bolder. As Gandhi suggested, we are taking steps to BE the CHANGE we wish to see in the world. And these are our stories....

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