Brighten Up

There’s no shortage of depressing topics to tackle on any given day. For whatever reason of late, the news seems worse than ever.  Even our local stories have been angling towards the negative.

I was thinking about offering my two cents worth about our “fiscally conservative” governor granting raises ranging from seven to 23 percent to a group of his administrators. Then, like nearly everyone else, I’ve gotten sucked into the Marcy’s Diner news and Facebook vortex. But alas, the thought of stirring up controversy on a perfect Friday morning during the height of Maine’s tourist season is just too freakin’ depressing.

So instead, I’m touching down today on talk about female empowerment and volunteerism. Can’t get in any trouble with that, can you?

My wife trains with a group of woman called SheJAMs. I’ve written about them before. She would tell you that this group of gals has changed her life. I’d believe her, too. It’s benefited me, also.

SheJAMs swim night, at Crystal Lake.

SheJAMs swim night, at Crystal Lake.

In a world where there are too many posers and hype that doesn’t deliver, groups like SheJAMs–which has changed women’s wellness right here in Maine—is the kind of authentic, good news story that I wish there were more of. In fact, one of their founders, Julie Marchese, is Tri for a Cure’s race director again this year. Julie’s the real deal, and I’m honored to have her call me, “Mr. B.”

Because of SheJAMs, who Mary first heard of when she participated in her first Tri for a Cure four years ago, I’ll be volunteering this weekend at this year’s event. Sometimes you’ve just got to try to do something good, no matter how small.

Actually, because my wife supports me in many positive ways, I decided to be her general gofer and “Mr. Do-Whatever-She-Needs-Me-To” in supporting her in her role as one of the volunteer coordinators for Sunday’s event that benefits the Maine Cancer Foundation. I’ll be just one of more than 500 people volunteering for this event.

Also, since I’ve preached about the need to give back through volunteerism and how social capital has been on the wane, I’m trying to walk my talk. Plus, as a triathlete, I always appreciate the volunteers supporting me whenever I’m competing. Then, there is the adage that talk is cheap, and cheaper than ever, again because likes on Facebook don’t really cost you anything.

One thing I’m sure about. I’ll be in a great frame of mind Sunday afternoon, after hustling about, trying to make this year’s Tri special for the ladies who are competing.

2 thoughts on “Brighten Up

  1. You know how I feel about volunteering. I love it, from the bottom of my heart. I wish I had a big fat trust fund so I could spend every waking hour volunteering, saving stuff, and giving back. It’s a worthy thing. Will it cure cancer? I don’t know. But the power of these projects is that it inspires hope. It teaches men and women how to collaborate and do things together. Human Action…according to Ludwig von Mises, human action is better than any government-planned system and according to Wikipedia, “ultimately serves as the foundation of civilization itself.” Maybe I’m taking liberties with LvonM, but the notion of voluntary human action as a bedrock of civilization is pretty appealing. Enjoy the weekend and best to Miss Mary in her efforts too!

  2. @JAB Being able to be about local, neighborhood matters 9-5 would be great. Of course, during social capital’s heyday (as defined by Robert Putnam), the volunteerism that was part and parcel of life in America during the 1950s and 1960s was done by many who worked full-time jobs and still found time to give back after work, evenings and weekends.

    I know my father-in-law, Joe Tarazewich, was always out at a meeting most evenings, after running a business and working long hours. That was the norm and something that many felt called to do. You certainly know about burning the candle at both ends when it comes to local volunteerism.

    The Tri for a Cure was another amazing event. I’m so glad that I took Mary’s suggestion and gave up part of Saturday, and most of today to be one of the 500+ volunteers who did their part to support the participants and helped make this year’s Tri a success.

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