Who has time to volunteer? Who has the energy to organize, e-mail, train, teach, public speak, sit all day at a tabling event, hold a sign on the side of a busy street? Not me. Not alone anyway. I have three children to home school, a book to write, bread to earn, a house to clean, laundry to do and meals to cook. Yes, the business of life can be exhausting, for everyone. Nobody can do it all. Despite all of our modern conveniences, our worlds are fuller than ever.
But what about justice? Who has time to spend thinking about those who cannot speak up for themselves? More specifically, what about the child whom, while I am tucking my kids safely into bed, is lying in a hotel room, here on our island, forced to have sex with a man, who paid another man for the privilege to rape her. Her day and night have been riddled with fear, not knowing if the next guy to force himself upon her would be three times her age, and enjoy a little violence at her expense. Who has the time to consider that that girl desperately wants the life she is living to come to an end? Who has time to warn other people’s children of the dangers that lurk in our own communities? Who has time to actually be “the village” that so many love to quote in regards to what it takes to raise a child? Who wants to be a part of a society where children are being sold for sex to both locals and tourists? Not me, and I know I am not alone, so I will make the time.
Governments change, leaders come and go, policies get made and unmade, but it is the efforts of “ordinary” individuals finding the time to follow their heart and their convictions that truly make extraordinary contributions to changing lives.
With minimal time and effort we can raise up a collective of individuals dedicated to educating our community (children, parents, teachers, neighbors, everyone) about human trafficking. Most people can offer a small amount of time, skills or resources.
A month ago, I decided to accept the role as Regional Coordinator for the West side of Hawai`i Island, because I seriously believe that a society can be defined by how we treat our youth. I didn’t have a lot of extra time during this month, but I was able to serve with other volunteers at a luncheon for those experiencing homelessness. where 250 meals were served and resources were made available. Together, a group of volunteers multiplied ourselves by equipping other volunteers to take action. I attended a two day training in Hilo as well as conducted a Volunteer Orientation & Advocate Training in Kailua-Kona. I was able to attend two public awareness meetings here on the island, educating parents and concerned citizens. So, yes, I somehow found the time. Will you?
— Renee Perrington, Regional Coordinator West Hawai`i