Volunteering Soul

Examination of Paul Rogat Loeb’s book Soul of a Citizen about the volunteering process.

The paper discusses how Loeb provides psychological advice in order to prepare people who are considering starting some volunteer work in the community. It shows how the bureaucratic system does not prepare one for the effects of volunteering and does not make it very easy for someone willing to give of their time and self.
To read or to write about something is not the same as to live it, in real experience and real time and space. Reading about volunteering is not the same thing as actually becoming a part of an experience and an experiment in community and giving of ones time, sweat, and soul. According to the text Paul Rogat Loeb’s book, Soul of a Citizen, to serve ones community as a volunteer is to participate in something larger than ones self that permanently enriches the mind and the soul of the individual. The central theme of Loeb’s book is that one is only truly fulfilled being part of a larger whole, fulfilling both personal ideals and individual ideals with an eye towards a greater goal of social change. In one’s lived experience as a volunteer, one may find this kind fulfillment in service. But Loeb’s words exist as a motivational bridge, rather than a blueprint for wider change to address the inequities of a bureaucratic system.