The Volunteerism Blues

The Volunteerism Blues

Sunday, January 28, 2001
| Jeremiah 1:4-10

Federal, state and local governments expect the private sector to step in and address many of the social problems of our day. But social agencies cannot find the volunteers to keep up with the frantic requests for their services. How come? Does the church face this problem, too?

James is 13 years old. He lives in New York City. His family has gone through hard times. His father lost his job as a butcher when the owner of the shop suddenly died. They were evicted from their apartment. His parents split up, and James and his brother have lived with their mother in two different shelters.

But James is one of the lucky ones. He has a friend, a mentor, who's been with him for six years now.

Her name is Sara Mosle, who describes herself as a "volunteer." She taught in the New York City public schools for three years and since then has volunteered as a mentor to some of her former students. At times, the group has been as large as 12 kids, a few Dominicans, the rest black. She's 36, and white.

She's introduced these youngsters to words and experiences like chopsticks, Avery Fisher Hall, the Staten Island Ferry, Mexican food and Duke Ellington.

She's the kind of person the federal government has in mind when it urges the private sector to assume some of the traditional...

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