Category Archives: Article

National Volunteer Week: Thoughts on Service

In honor of 2017 National Volunteer Week, we asked our Board Chair, Aaron Danzig, to reflect on why he chooses to serve. 

“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth,” so said the late, great Muhammad Ali.  And Winston Churchill once wrote, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

Board Chair Aaron Danzig speaks at the most recent CDA class graduation.

Board Chair Aaron Danzig speaks at the most recent CDA class graduation.

Both of these truisms reflect what is important in a life well-lived.  While there are many similar sayings, the point is universal:  Helping others should be done by everyone with the ability to do so.  The benefits of volunteering are three-fold.  A need is fulfilled for the recipient, whether a basic need or something that brings happiness the recipient may never have known.  The giver fulfills his or her human duty to assist and nurture, obtaining the warm glow of satisfaction from doing a good deed.

But perhaps even more important is the interaction between recipient and giver — people who may not otherwise ever have the opportunity to meet — which promotes a greater understanding of the trials and tribulations of others and an appreciation of viewpoints and perspectives different from one’s own.  Too often, we live in an echo chamber of our own choosing, ensconced in a cocoon with similar people.  Volunteering provides an avenue for helping others while also helping ourselves.

There is no “right” method of volunteerism.  Each of us is imbued with unique skills and abilities.  There are thousands of organizations from which to choose — social service, education, religious, senior citizens, refugees — the list is endless.  And the rewards are limitless.  While I hope I make at least a small difference in the lives of those I serve when volunteering, I believe my service has had an even larger impact on me.

For the past five years, I have been on the board of Our House, and have served as the board chair for the past three years.  Our House is a wonderful organization providing high-quality early childhood education to those experiencing homeless and a shelter for infants and their families.  It provides “Shelter to Live and Education to Thrive.”  Every time I step foot into Our House, I come away inspired by both the staff at Our House and the children and families they serve.  If you are interested in learning more about volunteer opportunities, please visit the Get Involved page. If you are interested in board service, please contact hello@ourhousega.org, and let us know why you would like to serve at Our House.

-Aaron Danzig, Our House Board of Directors Chairman