Volunteering: A National Mandatory Civil Service?
By: Jonathan Graves, MSA, MIR
When the social needs of a society are not being met, it is the duty of people within that society to step up and fix whatever problems exist. Just as it is the duty of every mentally fit individual to serve jury duty, so should it be the duty of every capable individual to volunteer their time to better society in some way, shape, or form. What I propose is that individuals give their time to a better cause and perpetuate a selfless society which is what our current social issues need immediately and in abundance. Imagine if local governments worked in conjunction with local nurseries to harvest and plant trees using mandatory volunteer labor. The effect would be a greener environment, small scale reversal of climate change, beautification projects, and social cohesion within the community. Some employers currently pay their employees to volunteer and I have seen large companies in Detroit, namely Quicken Loans, supply a volunteer force for packing food for underprivileged kids. With social pressure to volunteer within the community, companies and local governments can have a large impact on solving problems that remain the responsibility of charities. This would free up charitable organizations to impact and resolve other issues in society such as feeding, sheltering, and clothing the homeless. The government could even supply a tax credit for those who fulfill their obligation to volunteer which would reduce taxes for good Samaritans. In today’s world where culture focuses on the individual, it is time that a new way of thinking focuses on the benefits an individual can offer to society. In the words of John F. Kennedy, ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country. As citizens, it is our responsibility to be a part of the solution. Whether you plant trees, pack food for underprivileged kids, or clean up trash on the side of the road, society will improve due to your contribution and the contribution of your fellow citizens.