I am selfish

As many of you know I accepted another volunteer position with Inland Regional Center. As part of the process I was interviewed and asked questions. One question that I was asked as why? Why do you do these things – and the answer is simple. I am selfish. I love the feeling I get when I am part of something, no matter how small a part, that invokes change. We cannot change the world at once, we cannot change the direction of the government alone, but we can make changes in our sphere of influence. The small group of people we interact with – those around our community.

I look at each volunteer activity and find that I benefited greatly. The feeling that your time, your input, your commitment makes a difference. Not earth shattering but it makes a difference. I really cannot see a life where you are not helping others and enjoying the feeling.

There is phrase I use – I think I made it up, because I cannot remember hearing it before. “When seek to inspire others you are often inspired. It is habit forming.

I recall refereeing soccer games for AYSO. It was awesome. For a short time each weekend I was in charge. So many players got to enjoy soccer because we decided to spend a few hours running up and down the field in goofy uniforms. Or coaching challenger baseball. Parents would thank David and I for coaching the teams, but we became lifelong friends and we got to wear Cubs Jerseys with either our coaches shorts or parachute pants. Where else could you do that every Saturday?

When my son graduated High School and his team game me a signed football. I was not a coach, just a guy taking pictures and posting them on site. It was very rewarding and I had a blast taking pictures.

When I go to Fairmount Park and see children on the Universally Accessible Playground, see My Play Club growing or the camp. I did not do it, I was a small part of the team that put that together but the pride and satisfaction is overwhelming. Each and every program we support because part of the community and changes a few lives. It makes my City a better place to live, to be proud and I get great satisfaction.

I can not express the feeling I get when I walk into Ability Counts, either for daily practice, board meetings, planning with the staff or just to take pictures at the dance and I am greeted as Coach or Papa or Grandpa (I think my age is catching up with me)… the high fives, the hugs, the clients just reacting. Now I see them embrace my son Tyler and I am proud, very proud.

I have been told I get excited when asked about my Special Olympic’s teams. I am proud of what they do. To be Team USA and take athletes on their first plane trip and to Korea. Watching them see and learn new things, new cultures, make new friends. It is really awesome.

I could go on and on. You can see being selfish is not so bad.

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