Our Voices: This time, I’ll follow through

We are edging up to that time of year that we proudly tell big, fat lies to ourselves and others.

You may be thinking about your lie or lies right now. They’re called New Year’s Resolutions. They are supposed to be pledges that we make as the old year dies and the new year is born.

We are going to be better people, better employees, better bosses, better friends, better spouses, we are going to stop cursing and the list goes on. Not long after the rooster crows on the first day of the new year, most of us will have failed miserably.

We laugh off our personal defeat, we move on and say “Wait ’til next year.”

I’ll confess that I have failed many times. However, I did manage to stick to one: Quit smoking. Thankfully, that was many, many years ago.

My failures are about to change, though. Two recent events have inspired me and made it clear that my resolution will be to become an active community volunteer.

The first inspirational event occurred two weeks ago as I was taking photographs of some Southern University students helping to build a playground in Scotlandville from the ground up.

The students were having a good time even though a couple of them had little idea what they were doing. Thank goodness for the volunteers from the big orange-and-white building materials store who were there to guide them.

I admired the students’ energy and their willingness to be embarrassed, because they knew in the long run that what they were doing would help some children.

The second inspirational event occurred a couple days ago while watching the local TV news. The television reporter said that dozens of people volunteered to serve food to the needy at the St. Vincent de Paul Dining Room on Thanksgiving and Christmas, but few of the volunteers came out the day after those holidays.

Why wasn’t I there on those days?

That TV segment hit home with me, as it should have years ago when I and a few friends volunteered to serve food at that same facility.

I sat at a table and talked with a friend I had played alongside on my high school football team. I had not seen him in years.

As the saying goes, “I never thought in a million years I would see him there.” The same thought probably ran through his head.

I was surprised to find that the woman helping to run the kitchen was another high school classmate. She said my teammate was a regular. “You’d be surprised who else comes here,” she said.

I was so moved that day that I promised myself that I would return. I guess I wasn’t moved enough. I never returned.

That will change in 2013. I am going back there to volunteer and I will be bringing some friends with me. Other volunteer organizations better be on alert, because I will be volunteering with you, too.

I encourage those of you reading this column to find some place where you can volunteer and make a difference. I am excited about 2013 because I have made a resolution I will keep. Hopefully, I will have a lot of other folks joining me.

Ed Pratt is a former Advocate editor. He is assistant to the chancellor for media relations at Southern University. His email address is epratt1972@yahoo.com.