Inspiring Photos Paint A Picture of a Kinder America

In 2012, President Obama officially recognized National Volunteer Week, an event that had been celebrated by the Points of Light Institute for more than two decades prior to the presidential announcement. The designated week was slotted into the April calendar that year and highlighted in The Huffington Post. The article included a 55 page slide show of photos. The photos show specific volunteers, often but not always doing the volunteer work in question. A nice pop up blurb elaborates on the details of their volunteer work.

The first entry in the slide show was on a resident of Los Angeles, California, a lovely young lady by the name of eloise lynton. The photograph portrays her reading a book with a young child, presumably a child from the program she worked on. She had invested over a year of time and effort to successfully create a new program at the Westside Children's Center called The Book in a Bag program. The center is a local head start program. It provides a variety of services to more than 100 low-income families in the area.

Additional photos in the slide show are from volunteers from all over the country. A man in Hawaii does volunteer work for the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. A couple in New York founded an organization to raise awareness and provide support related to veterans and military families. The volunteers are men and women, young and old. One photo is of a class of school children who adopted a soldier, most of the kids in question thus starting their volunteer career at the tender age of five.

Some of the volunteers highlighted are victims of tragedy themselves. In some cases, these are tragedies that left them seriously disabled or devastated by the loss of a loved one. They have chosen to rise to the occasion and respond to their own personal pain by having compassion for strangers who are facing similar challenges. In some cases, they founded entirely new programs in order to give back in a meaningful way related to the personal pain they have endured firsthand.

This slide show is not just a portrait of a few hours of time given away for free to try to make the world a marginally better place. Instead, it is a portrait of a generosity of spirit, where a great many people have chosen to light one small candle rather than curse their own darkness. It is surprisingly inspiring. Some of these small candles may well become a bonfire.

A fair number of the volunteers are associated with the military and/or doing things related to supporting military members and their families in some way. The American military cannot function optimally without community support. These photos, and the blurbs that go with them, give insights into the many small ways in which American military members are freed up to focus on their mission by the gentle, persistent support of a great many unseen helping hands.

This is a nice patchwork of seemingly unrelated images of people who have never met. Yet, the photos, descriptions and sometimes relevant links are woven together in a way that gives a sense of the manner in which our country is blanketed with caring people, keeping things working that wouldn't work at all without dedication.