Raul Freitas

We salute you



What is the role most of us play on a daily basis? We are trained to perform tasks that are rewarded with a treat, (called a salary), which then is used to keep us operational, so that we can keep on performing our tasks, in order to keep receiving our salary. There are those special ones among us that perform tasks that come with a salary, but they go one step further; after the day is done, these special ones perform tasks without salaries, for everyone’s benefit.

Throughout my life I rubbed shoulders with many of these wonderful people who tirelessly organized, cooked, taught, performed, set up, guided, and all with a big smile, (usually), even though the stresses often outweighed those of their day jobs. It’s obviously not for everyone, a volunteer’s life is one of a certain amount of sacrifice. Family life is the principal victim, when one takes the road to volunteerism. What you were told would be “once or twice a week” usually ends up being more like five or six. There will always be “people to help” usually ends up with the same two or three, because although everyone is always enthusiastic in the beginning, once reality sets in, (which is when people realize that it’s actually real work), only the special one’s filter through. It’s a natural process, not everyone is cut out for this sort of thing. Even if the tasks are of the simple kind, to sacrifice one’s time for others is an idea we are not taught to embrace. I use the word sacrifice, but it’s actually not, in the sense that volunteering is certainly rewarded in many ways, if not monetarily. Certainly, it’s a great opportunity to learn and grow, to meet great people, and to offer them great experiences, a chance to get out of the house and connect.

The Portuguese community in Toronto used to be rife with great institutions that reminded everyone of the old traditions, the flavours, the music. I’m sure that many of these places are still in action, and probably as strong as ever. They may have lost some relevance due to the possible lack of interest from some of the younger members of the community, but they need to continue the cycle, if they haven’t already. The special ones need to keep stepping forward and continue the work, not only that, but there are also future special ones to enlighten.
Like I said, it’s not for everyone, but everyone benefits from the character of just a few. Over the decades the issue has always been the same; there are never enough people to help, and there is always too much for the few that are present to do, a vicious circle, and yet things keep moving forward, places continue to exist, which is a testament to those who do sacrifice their personal time for the benefit of all. A very wise person once said that “our time is the most precious thing we have”, and yet we waste so much of it. We need to create lives outside of our work environment in order to see what living life is really like.

Let’s keep participating and enjoying, let’s keep supporting, let’s give volunteering for the community a fair shot, you never know how special you might be.
Fiquem bem,

Raul Freitas/MS


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