Perhaps the push began in the early 2000’s. At least that’s when my manager at the time informed my colleagues that we would be given a day off to do some volunteer work project as a team. We chose d.c. Central Kitchen as some of us had already volunteered there with various other church and civic groups. It has an amazing reputation for turning excess food from restaurants and catered events in delicious meals for the local shelters.

It was a fantastic change of scenery and experience for us. The cook in charge, a former hopeless unemployed homeless man, made demands in his commands that gave us an appreciation for the essence of time when working with food. He also enlightened on how to cut vegetables properly quickly without endangering the tips of one’s fingers. While this experience turned delightful for the most part, sidebar conversation broke out and discussed that pharmaceutical companies have public image problems so this must be the higher ups way to combat it, market a new “We’re Do Gooders” campaign. Meanwhile it also turned out like a holiday week that put pressure on us to get the job done in less time.

Back to volunteering, I was raised that this is what Christians are supposed to do. They are to care for the poor and needy any chance they can. I had also learned over the years that it was a great way to accrue a new skill that would prove useful in my personal life. For example, to this day, I think of that cook every time I slice carrots. So, I took advantage of this dual reality raising my daughter.

First, we worked with Tiffany, a Miami Dade County Biologist, in removing invasive plants species. Next we raised mangrove seedlings that we secured from Frost Science Museum and then mucked around in the swamps near Virginia Key with MUVE to plant them. Another time we met up an army of people that packed up meals at the Fairgrounds for Feed My Starving Children.

In Alabama my daughter learned how to care for goats with a local farmer. What a delight this turned out to be. She would have never been permitted to volunteer with animals at any 501 3-C organization because she was too young. Rather she experienced what happened in old school America, children had to help on the farm.

Another amazing experience my daughter had volunteering in Alabama was at Ft. Toulouse/Ft. Jackson State Park. We stumbled across this opportunity when we stayed there in our RV when we had evacuated from Hurricane Irma when we had lived in Miami. Deborah Jenkins noticed how interested my daughter was in the history she taught, took her under her tutelage, and supported one of the new favorite child re-enactors.


Our last volunteer opportunity in Alabama was one I wrote an extensive blog on. It is linked below for convenient viewing. Elise wound up as one of the leads in a unique cross-cultural theater production with A-KEEP, Alabama Korean Education Economic Partnership.

All these experiences add up to more than 200 hours of volunteer experience that we found out counted for nothing in the State of Florida for High School Graduation or the Bright Futures Scholarship because they happened before she was in high school, but they certainly have exponentially accumulated to enable my daughter to be one of the most amazing people one can interact with.

Since, thankfully, my daughter has been able to volunteer helping children safely on and off horses at Delmar Farm in Loxahatchee.

She enjoyed a semester singing with Young Singers of Palm Beaches

A 3:30 AM wake up call at the Kravis Center to make the 6 AM News

She’s helped at Vacation Bible School at our local church Crossbridge and now actively serves with the Dirty Mechanics so she should be able to claim the over 100 hours of volunteer work in high school.

Every single one of these experiences have been worthy and a good use of time, but one cannot keep giving their time away especially with the price tag college and post graduate school comes with. My daughter needs to work for money in addition to study to learn and perform well. So why are colleges now sending flyers bragging about how many hours of volunteer service their students have clocked in?

Granted that University of Tennessee Knoxville’s sports teams take their name, the Volunteers, from the state’s nickname I’ve seen service hours quoted by other college recruitment flyers my daughter has received. Why is this the new bragging and selling point from universities?

When I went to college back in the late 80’s I struggled to study and work as a Resident Assistant so that I could get in and out in four years without summer school. I needed to save on housing costs and go home to work in the summer to keep my college loans low. There was barely time to go to church on Sundays, much less enjoy a day of rest. There is no way I had time to “serve” the community in addition to.

Think this through, those who brag about their volunteer hours must have enough income to hire housekeeping, lawn service, and a myriad of other help. They also do not need to juggle two or three jobs to pay the bills. So, this push for serving for free is really a way to bully the poor and make their lives harder.

It’s also a convenient means to move towards the social credit score economic system that many are supporting. While this may seem oh so caring and kind, think about the realities of life and human nature first.

I’ve examined the income and benefits of the people who work for 501 3-C’s verses those who are in small business. It makes the executives of 501 3-C look like cushy jobs. They don’t personally have to manage the hassles much less bear the financial risks that owners do. Yet, they get to brag that they work for a 501 3-C. Meanwhile they convince people to work for them for free via volunteering.

Don’t get me wrong, many of these community groups do provide helpful services to their neighborhoods and not all of them pay well. It’s also good to volunteer, but at what cost and how efficient is it really? Plus if business owners aren’t allowed to make any money after all the licensing fees, taxes, and insurance they have to pay much less healthcare for themselves and their employees who’s going to donate the dough to keep the 501 3-Cs running?

Questions like this are why some governors are requiring students to take and pass Economics before they graduate from high school. But whose curriculum and philosophy of economics is being taught?

Do yourself a favor and brush up on your own understanding of economics. Consider taking the free online classes from Hillsdale College. Sign up for the Mises Institute publications and newsletters from Steve Moore, Committee to Unleash Prosperity. They are posted below for your convenience. Just beware that your email account may mark them as spam or junk because they want to keep you as a “useful idiot.” But don’t let them, press on.

Also, your personal life may benefit quite a bit from a better understanding of just where your money is going. It may also depress you to see that much of it is stolen from you a.k.a. taxes and redistributed. But take heart, only the ignorant continue to live with their heads buried in the sand.

Lastly, contemplate: “The law has been perverted through the influence of two very different causes–naked greed and misconceived philanthropy.” -Frederic Bastiat first published in 1850 “The Law.” I highly recommend securing a copy of this classic essay. Read and consider the whole 55 pages.









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