“Do you have anything for me to do today?” The Oregon Right to Life office was cold and bare at nine o’clock on a Monday morning. This was the usual time I drove to Keizer to complete my 25 volunteer hours for Reach, preparing myself for the menial tasks that the office ladies set before me.
“You can check the obituaries,” they would say. This job entailed looking through old newspaper clippings from all over the state and entering names into the system for any ORTL members. Besides the occasional interesting obituary to read, this task thrilled me less than picking through rotten apples in a fall harvest basket.
As if that job was not boring, there was always stuffing envelopes to mail with pertinent information about the pro-life movement, anything from the youth camp in March, to billing information for donors. Do this for a two hours, and your brain might just be fried for the rest of the day from the repetition of it all.
The most ridiculous thing from volunteering at ORTL was when I asked for work to do over the weekend, because I would not be able to meet my hourly quota with office hours only. They sent me home with a box full of 3-inch plastic fetus babies, around which I had to rubber band an informational card that explained the growth development of a fetus. One box took me four hours to wrap, while the other 459 babies I wrapped took no less than six. That’s right–I partied hard this weekend.
Suffice it to say, most college girls do not have plastic fetus figurines coving their dorm room floors. After a whole weekend of people coming into my dorm room, I had many different reactions.
“What are those?!?!?”
“That is SO creepy!”
“What is this for? How funny! Do people actually like these?”
Good thing most people have a sense of humor, because a person cannot help but laugh at the sight of me wrapping hundreds of babies on the floor in my dorm room.
“So, how exactly do you give these babies to people?” I finally asked one of the ladies at the office.
“Oh we distribute them to people at all our different events, like fairs or at churches. People usually like them–especially the little kids, because they’re always all gone,” she said.
Interesting. There I was–sitting in my dorm room for hours, thinking about how pointless it was for me to sit there and do this. But that is the nature of volunteering, right? Doing work that no one else wants to have to do? I thought this to myself as I swallowed my pride and wrapped those babies.
While I was at the office returning the box, the staff kept telling me how much they appreciated the work that I had done.
“Every little thing counts,” one secretary said. “It gets us that much closer to our end goal.”
What end goal? What did my 25 hours of service–of wrapping babies–do for the pro-life movement? A friend, who watched me as I worked on wrapping them in my room, corrected me as I started to complain about what I was doing.
“Think about it this way: for each baby you are wrapping, you might be saving a life. Someone might look at that who might be considering abortion, and decide otherwise after they read the card and look at the baby,” she wisely told me.
This is the perspective I should have been having the whole time I was volunteering. Every little thing counts, and every piece of work, however small or pointless it may seem, has the potential to really change someone’s life for the better.
The pro-life cause is something that students at Corban take rather lightly. Instead of discussing new developments in the abortion debates, we would rather talk about football. Instead of debating the ethics of stem cell research (what’s that?!?!) we argue if Lady Gaga is a good singer.
Wake up, Corban! The world is changing, and we cannot afford to be complacent about anything.
This is what I learned from my ORTL Reach project: that no matter how pointless wrapping plastic babies might seem, it is not up to me to decide what is important or not, but to simply act. Acting on one’s own convictions is what starts a change, and judging the moral climate of the abortion issue, America could use some change.