Posted by Jim Jagielski on Tuesday, May 13. 2008 in Personal

One of the many very cool things about being involved in Open Source is that you get to meet and become close to many other people who share a very similar world view with yourself regarding volunteerism. Heck, when you think about it, most of the really successful Open Source projects are based on people sharing their time, energy and talents to create code that is then used by numerous entities to impact the world. If that's not a core concept of volunteerism, I don't know what is. I've known, and been humbled by, people who have expanded their involvement in Open Source to other more "traditional" concepts of volunteering, transplanting themselves (and their families) to remote locations to improve literacy, reduce hunger, or increase the usage of technology to improve living conditions. There is one non-profit which is especially near and dear to my heart: The Maryland State Boychoir. The MSB offers young men the opportunities to grow in their musical ability, but, even more importantly, the opportunity to understand and appreciate the arts (via the boychoir choral tradition) and grow in self-confidence. We have boys and young men from pretty much every social, religious, racial and economic background, and yet despite these "differences", they grow as a team, as a group, as a choir. They create life-long friendships. So more so than the musical training, these incredible young men learn that it's OK to be musical or "artistic" and that you are still masculine, that being "a man" is not just sports (although most of our boys are very successful there as well), and that cultural "differences" aren't divisive at all. I volunteer quite a bit of my time to the MSB; I use vacation time to attend and proctor camps and tours, I volunteer at events and serve as proctor of the Concert Choir and on the board of the MSB, and help out financially. If you are located in the Maryland region, I encourage you to get to know the MSB and attend a concert. And with the economy the way it is, it is getting harder to find people willing and able to financially help out as well. If you can, then that would certainly be most appreciated! But even if the MSB isn't your cup of tea, I encourage to find something to volunteer for. It makes a big difference, not only in your life, but also in lives of the people you touch.

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