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April 20 is Volunteer Recognition Day

There are all different ways to be a volunteer, but few as gratifying as serving the underserved or forgotten like the incarcerated. At least that’s what I and many others have found out. I have to admit I never thought about the incarcerated until I became their doctor in 1987 and turned it into a career that lasted 30 years. Being their doctor at times was difficult and I don’t know if I would have stuck it out if it wasn’t for the opportunity in the evening to volunteer my time as a teacher. I taught life skills courses which I called HRR , ‘Health Related Recovery.’ The men who attended those classes appreciated what they learned and their interest and interaction in the class energized me. Taking care of chronic and end stage medical problems can be tiring, but to see the light go on in their eyes when they learned something new and had an ‘aha’ moment that could change the trajectory of their lives kept me coming back every week for years. What do you do as a volunteer and how has it affected you? If you haven’t volunteered, in what way would you like to volunteer? It is a great way to get out of your bubble, challenge yourself and be part of making society safer and more equitable.

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