Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Volunteer's Motive (Motif?)



I found an article while researching The Clinton School of Public Service, a graduate program I'm very interested in applying for and attending within the next couple years. I mentioned sometime a few posts ago, that I'm concerned with whether I'm helping anyone by being here, or whether I'm just doing it for myself. I pondered service, being abroad, alternative spring breaks, etc. Finding this article really helped me; not in getting anywhere closer to forming a substantial opinion, but to read about my questions from another source (other than my brain) was somehow comforting (to read the article provided by the Clinton School, go to: http://www.frankmagazine.org/delorenzo.asp).

Not comforting in the way that it makes me happy, but at least someone else is wondering it as well. I think it's an interesting article, in addition to the Illich article (To Hell With Good Intentions, I posted a link to it a few posts ago), because it discusses how people choose to serve outside their own communities. Maybe I'm biased because I've served my country (IN my country) through service, but I think that's weird. How come people spend thousands of dollars to do service in a foreign country for only a week or two? Why not just go as a tourist? At least you won't have to worry about the obligation of work on your vacation time.

However, when Obama made his "Call to Service," how many people actually responded? I was in AmeriCorps when he made the call, but how has it actually expanded? He increased the Education Award for the first time in sixteen years (founded 1993) from $4724 to $5350, but now the program is under threat of being completely cut from the government's budget. AmeriCorps' budget has always been under threat of getting less financial support from the government, but to my knowledge, it's only been under threat once with President Bush. Maybe I don't understand the American political system as well as I should, but it just doesn't make sense to me that Obama would expand the number of positions available, increase funding, only to have the House hope to cut funding. Doesn't he have some sort of veto power? I guess I don't really remember checks and balances anymore. I'll have to do some more research.

On a completely different note, here's a list of the places I'd really like to spend time in within the next couple of years:

Palestine, Syria, Egypt, Israel, the Nordic countries (specifically Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Iceland), Switzerland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Japan, Nova Scotia. My plan? The other Middle Eastern countries will be by the end of May. Nova Scotia is easy because I live in Maine. The European countries might be tackled in a visit to Europe, and I have no idea when Japan'll happen. I know things are crazy now with the earthquake/tsunami/nuclear stuff, but maybe someday it'll calm down. OR, it won't and I'll just have to deal!

Picture: Remember, remember. What though? I have a theory...

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