Blog: Trevor Staples

When it comes to making progress on building the Ann Arbor Skate Park, fakies (moving backwards, in skating lingo) are not allowed. This week Trevor Staples, chairman of Friends of the Ann Arbor Skatepark, will be dishing on community service.

Post 2: Yes, You Do Have a Care in the World

Maybe you don't care about saving the whales. Maybe cancer research just bums you out. Maybe a public skatepark seems frivolous to you. That's cool, but there is something inside you that you really care about. Something that makes you say to yourself almost every day, "Someone should do something about that." Well, that someone is you. Whether it's raising money for the local high school football team, beautifying a neighborhood park, or helping homeless people get back on their feet, the thing that makes a cause important is that YOU care about it. You can be the one to make a real difference in the world.

All this talk of making the world a better place is fine and dandy, but I know that more than a few who are reading this don't think that they should give back. It's hard enough to stay afloat in one's own life, let alone help others. There's a big debate over whether or not pro athletes, celebrities, successful business people, and rich people in general should give back. I don't understand why people focus on just these high-profile examples. We should expect everyone to "give back." In the history of the world, no one has been capable of coming up from birth to old age without help from someone else. We owe it to the world to help the rest keep coming up, too. This is all about many hands making light work. If we all work together to help each other out, the world will be a better place. That "each other" part can mean your neighbor, a stranger 'cross town, or someone halfway around the world. The fact is, if we weren't meant to live together and help each other survive, there would have only been one of us in the first place. We need each other.

Maybe you don't buy the bleeding heart reason to give back. Fine, be selfish. Do it for yourself. If you want it, you can get lots of recognition for being such an awesome person who cares so much about your community, cats in shelters, clean water, or whatever the cause. You can get your picture in the paper, get noticed on the street, and have people all over know who's being talked about when your name is mentioned. People will say, "Hey, there's the clean water lady!" and you can puff up your chest and feel good about yourself.

Alternatively, you can help out behind the scenes. Enough to make a difference, but without fanfare and spectacle. You'll know you're doing good, and it'll make you feel good. Doing something for little or no gain that helps someone else really does feel good. There's nothing wrong with giving because it feels good. Try it. You'll like it.

Ok, if you're still reading, that means you may want to know some great ways to make a difference for the cause of your choice. Some methods are easy, some take a whole lot of effort. Some are fun and satisfying, some will make you feel a little icky once you've done them (read: politics). But, in the world of "giving back," there's something for everyone. My next post will be all about specific ways you can help whatever cause you want. You know you've been dying to find a way to secure funding for that northern Michigan whale sanctuary. Now's your chance.