Volunteering should be a mandatory part of Unemployment payouts and Welfare

First off… let me preface this whole blog post by saying I am not political, I don’t really care about politics since I truly believe that 97% of all politicians out there are slime and only care about themselves regardless of what they say- while the other 3% that are actually in it for the right reasons get pushed to the side and never accomplish anything because they follow their morals. Phew… now that I got that out, here is my thoughts on unemployment and welfare payments.

Let’s start with the facts:

  • The US government and Illinois government are in major debt
  • The economy is still in a recession (despite talks of it heading in an upturn) and people are still feeling the effects on a personal level: o Losing their jobs o Struggling with mortgages o Trying to provide for their family
  • City parks, schools, streets, highways etc are dirty and littered
  • Volunteers are needed daily for a wide variety of activities: soup kitchens, cleaning up the neighborhoods, visiting with the elderly, recording text books for the blind, etc.

Now let’s look at how we might incorporate a few of these things and help make it more of a win-win situation. The United States government, and Illinois government in particular, is in some major debt, right? And with the economy crisis that is still in the midst, people who want jobs can’t find jobs. So the government is extending unemployment and welfare payments beyond the normal time limit in order to help support them as much as they can. I am all for helping out people that are really trying. But let’s also look at the fact that the government (who doesn’t have any money either and is already in debt) is giving out FREE money to people who aren’t doing ANYTHING. Why doesn’t the government create a program that requires people who are on unemployment and welfare to volunteer their time (8 hours a day 3 days a week) to better their community in return for their bi-weekly check?? Having all of those people volunteering their time for 8 hours a day 3 days a week could really get a lot of stuff done and improve the community that they live in. A program can be created that allows people to go online and log in, sign up for the activity they want to volunteer for on the day they want- still leaving 2 full days for interviewing and job searching, and then you get paid if you put in your 3 days a week.

Oddly enough, many professionals are already going out and volunteering on their own. The New York Times had a front page article on this back in March 2009. Obama supports people volunteer and encourages it… I think it would make sense then to incorporate it into the unemployment program to get those people out there who may not know where to go to volunteer or who may not even think about volunteering during their job searching time.

Here are some of the benefits to the community of a program like this:

  • Parks and communities will be cleaned up
  • Less trash cluttered along sidewalks, highways and clogging gutters
  • The government will actually be paying out money for a service rather than just paying out money for nothing

People who get out of the house and volunteer will also have:

  • Increased self-esteem
  • Less chances of developing depression from not having a job
  • Sense of accomplishment of going out for the day and doing something the benefits others and the community
  • Chance to learn and develop other skills that can then in turn help them get a job.
  • Here are some stats from a survey completed by TimeBank through Reed Executive:  · 73% of employers would recruit a candidate with volunteering experience over one without· 94% of employers believe that volunteering can add to skills · 94% of employees who volunteered to learn new skills had benefited either by getting their first job, improving their salary, or being promoted
  • Being part of the community
  • Being part of the solution and not the problem
  • Networking and meeting new people
  • A chance to experience new things

So what are the drawbacks to people having to volunteer when they are on unemployment??? I can’t think of any. Some people might say that it gives people less time to focus on their job search since job searching in itself is a full time job… but again, I prefaced that before, even if people were required to volunteer 3 days a week, they still have 2 full days to interview and before and after volunteering and weekends to apply for jobs.

Maybe someone in politics should look at that. Then maybe, the government would actually be paying someone on unemployment or welfare to do something that benefits not only the community and themselves. But why would we want to do that? Alright… I am done ranting about this. If you have any thoughts on this, please let me known.

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