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Getting Unplugged

“If you turn off the news and just talk to your neighbor, you’ll find that our great country is far more harmonious than you’re being told.” – Rob Schneider

A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege and honor of working with 70+ veterans and hundreds of community volunteers during a week-long service project in Atlanta, Georgia hosted by the national veteran non-profit organization, The Mission Continues. We spent our days building new fences, painting murals, laying sod, interacting with local youths, and working on several other service projects on the west side of Atlanta. We'd work ten hours hours in the Georgia heat and humidity and ended each day by reviewing the status of our projects and our accomplishments. The week was definitely a test of both our physical and mental endurance. However, we tackled every challenge that came our way and ensured that all our tasks were completed. At the end of the day, this was for the Atlanta community, and we wanted to show them that we cared.

When I got back to New Jersey, I'd met up with some friends and noticed that our conversations consisted of, “ … a political figure was shot… another bombing… another shooting… more protests.” And this is where it hit me: during the entire week I was in Atlanta, I didn't watch TV, listen to the news, or keep up with events. Our days were so jam-packed, there was just not much opportunity to "plug-in." Instead, we spent our time with our faces in the dirt, and got the chance to share smiles and laughs with the community volunteers and youths.

My lesson learned: Take some time to "unplug." If we can put our remotes, video games, and cell phones down, we can share an amazing experience with our neighbors. Hit the pause button and make it a point to service others in your community. Imagine what impact we can bring when we step outside of our busy world and start caring for one another.

What kind of an impact can you bring to your community?

Joey Mac Dizon

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