Craigslist for the Caring

This post is part of a series by my students at Mississippi Governor’s School. As a final project, they were challenged with creating an idea that could be used on a massive scale to help others live the good life.

When asked what I took away from philosophy class, a lot of answers come to my mind.  However, the one that stands out the most to me is everyone is different and everyone feels differently about making a difference in the world.  There are some people who would pack their bags right now and head off to some rural African village to help with an AIDS outbreak.  There are others who feel like volunteering at the local library is the way to go.  In my opinion, both of these types of people are making the world a better place.  They’re just doing it a little bit differently.

While I was thinking about all of these people who love to help out and make the world a better place, a thought came to my mind.  There are some people who really do not have access to a church that goes on mission trips or a library large enough to need volunteers.  What if a website was created to help those people find opportunities to help out? What if someone created a Craigslist for people who want to find volunteering opportunities instead of a new car or a roommate?

On this imaginary site, charities would be able to post listings about the types of people they need (like people wiling to travel) and contact people they feel would be appropriate for the jobs. Then, people would create profiles that stated which issues they really care about and exactly which types of jobs they are interested in and respond to posts that they were willing to do.  When the job is completed, both the charity/organization and the volunteer can rate each other and validate one another’s credibility.  This means that no one will have to question that weird letter they get in the mail asking for help for the children in Africa.

There will not only be opportunities for regular citizens but also for charities and organizations.  A forum will be offered where struggling charities/organizations will be able to ask the public how they believe more interest in a particular charity can be created.  Regular people who have a profile on the website will be able to brainstorm together and figure out ways to raise interest in a particular area for a particular charity.

You may be asking, “Doesn’t Craigslist already do the same thing?”  The answer is no.  Craigslist really does not provide the world with volunteering opportunities (unless riding in a car and splitting up the driving with a complete stranger is your idea of volunteering). This website will be for the SOLE purpose of volunteer work.  There will be no car selling, no companion searching, and NO SCAMMING. If a charity or organization is accused of being a fraud on the site, the complaint will be checked in to immediately.

As you can see, this sight would be beneficial to a lot of people.  People who wanted to help out would be able to find ways to do so, charities and organizations who needed volunteers would probably be able to find them, and people who wanted to check out the credibility of a charity, organization, or individual would be able to do so.

With all of this being said, I believe that this directly relates to the aforementioned idea that I stated I have learned in this philosophy class.  Everyone is different and has a different opinion about what can make the world a better place.  You know what else? That is a beautiful thing.  The world may actually end up being a better place if everyone fights in a different area to make it better.

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