By Irene Conlan -
Actually, Bill Gates and I don’t have a relationship but everytime my P.C. freezes up because Microsoft software doesn’t work right, I hate Bill Gates. I know he didn’t do it – his company made it and I probably paved the way byhitting the wrong keys. But I want it to work correctly, without crashing or freezing up. I just want to say, “Please fix it so it works right.”
But when I hear stories about the work Bill and Melinda Gates are doing, I love him dearly. Yes, he is a billionaire. Yes he and his family have every advantage. Yes, he knows there’s more where that came from. Some of us don’t have that priviledge. But he didn’t always have the wealth and he didn’t forget those who need help.
I am impressed with his generosity, in America and across the world. Bill and Melinda Gates plan to give away over $100 billion over the course of their lives. One hundred billion dollars. The give approximately $800 million a year to charitable causes. That can do a lot of good in so many places.
Melinda’s passion is about improving education here in the U.S. Their foundation has invested almost $4 billion in education, with $2 billion going to high schools. It has helped 2, 602 struggling schools create new models of teaching and learning to improve performance and graduation rates. The have furnished schools with thousands of computers in some of the neediest areas of the country. They have put their money where their mouth is. There is a great video from ABC news about Melinda Gates in a Bronx school. Take a minute to watch it. http://abcnews.go.com/video/playerIndex?id=6644258 (I would have embedded it but I couldn’t find the code. Sorry.)
What about you?
“Well, if I had Bill Gate’s money I could do something, too!”
Oh, sour grapes!
Do you have to have money to make a difference? It helps, but, no you don’t.
“So, name me something”
Well, let’s see. You could:
- Tutor a child who is having trouble learning to read or do math.
- Volunteer at the local hospital
- Volunteer at the local food bank
- Serve food to the homeless
- Become a big brother or big sister
- Help at hospice
- Help pick up trash from litterers
- Give blood at the American Red Cross
- Deliver meals on wheels
- Go to a retirement home and visit the elderly
- Help Habitat for Humanity build a house
- Help out at an animal shelter
- Volunteer at your local library
- Get trained and work on a crisis hotline
- Help in a holiday food drive
- Mentor a teen ager
- Volunteer for office work in offices of charitable institutions
- Volunteer at your local police or fire departments
- Help children with special needs
- Read to children
- Record books for the blind
- And the list goes on
None of these things requires you to spend money. Each one will help someone, especially you. Helping others in one sure way to make your own life better. Helping others is the shortest route to self improvement. You don’t have to be a Bill or Melinda Gates to make a difference in the world around you.
To discover some volunteer needs in your area go to http://www.volunteermatch.org.