For the past few Sunday nights I have found myself becoming reinvigorated by a television program. I know it seems odd to say that something on television can be reinvigorating, but I have found the program. The show is “Secret Millionaire” and it is shown on ABC at 8:00 on Sundays. The premise of this “reality” show is that a millionaire must live in a downtrodden neighborhood for a week living off the equivalent of one weeks pay on public assistance. To explain why there are television cameras following the person around, the secret millionaire tells people that he is part of a documentary centered on volunteerism. This cover works well because at the end of their week under cover the millionaire must find worthy organizations to give money to.
What I find invigorating about the show is not the millionaire giving away money…although that is wonderful. What really shows the goodness and kindness of people are the organizations and people that are volunteering their time, money, and resources to help people that are less fortunate than themselves. For example, in last night’s program, a small shopkeeper from Los Angeles gathers used clothes, sleeping bags and gives them to homeless people along with a hygiene kit that he makes. He literally fills a van with clothes and other items and passes them out to those in need on a sidewalk. What a great example of the shining light of the human spirit.
What does this mean for RASD? I believe that our curriculum must include more than just intellectual exercises. We must offer student’s experiences that allow them to give something of themselves while at the same time exploring the world to find goodness in human nature. I am very pleased that the school district requires volunteer hours for all high school students because I hear stories of students being positively changed by their volunteer experiences. The district must expand these efforts for our students. We do not have to send our students half way across the nation to find these experiences. There is enough to do in our local community that will help students experience the goodness of human nature.