guest blog post by Bill Dorman
Do you ever get to a point in life where you feel totally comfortable, you have enough money in the bank and you are ready to just put life on cruise control?For 1% of the population, maybe so, for the rest of us regardless of how much planning has been done, you might wonder if it will be enough.
I will confess, 3 years ago I was cooking with gas. Being in commercial insurance sales I had built a nice book of business, the relationships were strong and I was ready to evolve more into a mentoring role for some of the new talent we were bringing on.
Guess what? Somebody moved my cheese; and not just my cheese but the cheese of just about every business we insured. To have your book of business (and income) cut in half in one year is a pretty sobering proposition. But you know what; I was one of the lucky ones. At least I was still pulling a paycheck, right?
But this isn’t about me
I do consider myself very fortunate and not only do I have my family, my health and my friends; I still have the opportunity to grow my business. It would be easy to use the economy as an excuse for lack of production, but this is when our customers need us most; to improve their bottom line.
I like the helping aspect of my job but still wanted to do more.
What do you C.A.R.E. about
During my business career I have sat on many a board and certainly my share of non-profits. I could see first hand what kind of impact these organizations had on people’s lives.
However, I knew there was more I could be doing. I was ready to roll up my sleeves and hopefully make a difference in someone’s life.
Through a local leadership program, I was introduced to Guardian ad Litem and was immediately intrigued. The program is a partnership of community advocates and professional staff providing a voice on behalf of abused and neglected children. As a volunteer GAL I am the voice in court for the safety of the kids I am assigned.
That sounds pretty easy
When the Guardian is assigned a ‘case’, these kids are already in the ‘system’ and something bad has occurred to get them there; usually through no fault of their own. During training we were told “whatever your frame of reference for normal is, throw it out the window” and that has certainly been the case.
When you hear some of these stories they can be jaw dropping because almost all of them involve sexual abuse and/or drugs. However, you have to be very careful not to pre-judge any situation and ultimately try to only ensure the kids are safe.
For instance, and this is not atypical, my current case involves a same-sex, mixed race relationship and the kids were removed because the two young boys had been ‘disciplined’ too severely.
The least bad of the choices is reunification, but the couple will have to do a case plan and we will have plenty of eyes on them to ensure the kids safety. The other choices are individual foster care or a group foster care setting.
Good stuff, huh?
Why do you do it?
I want to feel like I have made a difference and if I can have a positive influence on just one child’s life it will be worthwhile. Unfortunately it is sometimes hard to measure the impact because these kids are already so broken. Just because I show up probably is not going to change much for them.
I have had a couple of mini-success stories and it keeps me plugging away. This generation is our future and I would like to think there are NO throw away kids.
One thing I do know, just because you can have babies does not mean you should have babies. I see way too many uneducated mothers totally dependent on the abusive party that leaves them with very limited options.
Yes, it would be very easy to just ignore all of this because it certainly is not part of my social circle; and yes, it does get me way out of my comfort zone. I just feel I should be giving back in some way, because I have had it pretty easy compared to most of these kids.
Where do I sign up
I was hesitant when I first committed because I thought I would not have the time, but trust me, you can make the time so please don’t use this as an excuse not to volunteer.
Maybe this is not your gig, but there are plenty of opportunities in your community to make it a better place to live.
What about you, are you a giver or a taker? Are you ok with out of sight out of mind, or do you want to be part of the solution.
Principal/owner @LanierUpshaw, Inc. FSU grad; Auburn dad; interested in people & relationships, who you want to be when you grow up. My themes will run from social media to life to community to corporate life. You can find Bill just about any day at billdorman.me.