Why You Should Volunteer, 2011

New Year’s resolutions.  We all make them.  How many of us keep them?

For the past several years, my New Year’s resolutions have revolved around a healthier lifestyle.  I’ve given up fast food for a year – which sounds easy enough, but the moment you get on the road for a trip, becomes a slightly more daunting task.  I’ve joined gyms.  I’ve said “yes” to opportunities, any and all, similar to Jim Carrey’s character in “Yes Man”.  I’ve found that giving myself these challenges has been a useful exercise in discipline.  I”m proud to say I’ve seen my resolutions through the last three years running.  Not bad, but I can do better.

This year, I’ve decided to go a different route.  Instead of focusing on self-improvement, I decided to give some thought to donating time to something bigger than myself.  Now, I’ve volunteered before, and every experience has been wonderful and rewarding – from working with the LGBT center in Seattle to the Olympia Child Care Center and Unity in the Community.  Volunteering your time becomes a pleasure when you’re able to find a worthy cause in need of people with a skill set you possess.

This year I turned my attention to Project Gutenberg.

Project Gutenberg was founded by Michael Hart, who passed away on September 6, 2011.   Hart is widely considered to be the creator/inventor of the electronic book (or, eBook)[1].  The mission statement of Project Gutenberg is as inspirational as the work they are doing:

* Encourage the Creation and Distribution of eBooks

* Help Break Down the Bars of Ignorance and Illiteracy

* Give As Many eBooks to As Many People As Possible

Reading through Michael’s Wiki page and the information on the Project Gutenberg website, I realized this was something I had to get involved with.  I became a volunteer member of Distributed Proofreaders (DP).  In December 2011 alone, DP volunteers preserved 212 titles.  In all, the DP volunteer base has proofed 22,040+ digital titles, ensuring those books will not be lost to history.

So, every spare moment I have (and like you, I sometimes must make the spare moments because they don’t tend to happen on their own) I hop onto the DP website and proof a page.  It’s as simple as that, and your effort adds up – more quickly than you’d immediately realize.

You can become a volunteer.   Click to “Get Involved!” icon below to get started.

Project Gutenberg Volunteer Work
Get involved!

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[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_S._Hart

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