They can satisfy their desire to be of use and the Government can save money.
More and more people are willing to do something useful with their time and effort. The reforestation campaigns started by a leading radio and TV station have proven that people respond. The number of volunteer blood donors shows that the Greeks are not indifferent to social needs.
In every country in the western world volunteers perform a lot of tasks, provide meaningful help in many ways.
If the Government would tap the enthusiasm of people and subtly direct the attention of the “idle” youth to Volunteer-ism it could comfort social needs and provide psychological satisfaction to the volunteers, without any cost to the Government.
It could ask unemployed, or, retired people to visit daily elderly people who live alone and thus break their social isolation and loneliness. The visits could be supplemented with whatever they could do for them like go to the post office to take, or, mail out something, or go out when the weather is bad to get something for them, or accompany them to a store or the supermarket. Companionship and help with ordinary tasks would greatly comfort recipients and donors alike.
Volunteers could look after children whose parents are working by taking the kids out to a park to play, or take them to sights of sorts, even to a football match, or other sports event, with the parents covering what little expense is involved, whenever the volunteers can not afford this.
The slumbering giant, the Church of Greece, which reportedly has assets worth billions, could finance the creation of community, or in the cities of neighborhood, social centers where the volunteers could take the children they look after and keep them happily, even constructively, busy. The priests of the Church of Greece are public employees. They are on the public payroll. What do they do other than conduct mass and other liturgical functions as and when these are needed e.g. funerals, weddings etc.? They could provide four hours of their time daily to set up and run social centers, with volunteers providing free instruction in music, arts in general, in computer skills etc. etc.
The Government, or , the Church could ask the Greeks to donate to the centers musical instruments that are sitting in closets and are no longer used, or even computers replaced by new ones that are not being used and of course art materials and such.
Volunteers could undertake to do work for the Government, like the reforestation of burnt forests. Volunteers could check every road sign to see that it is not covered with ads or other printed materials that cover them and make them illegible, sometimes totally unintelligible and thus useless to motorists and pedestrians, who, consequently, are exposed to danger. Volunteers could check out the condition of public facilities and volunteers could repair them, whenever necessary, with the Government providing the materials. Volunteers could “educate” people to the benefits that recycling provides, so that the Greeks can gradually be moved to throwing recyclables in to separate bags to be thrown in the recyclables only garbage cans and whatever recyclable is too heavy or big to be left at the side of these recyclables only cans.
Many are the ways the Greeks could help one another, their country in the last analysis. Their enthusiastic response to the call for volunteers in the great event of the 2004 Olympics and their conscientious and efficient discharge of the duties assigned to them attest to the fact that the Greeks can provide meaningful service voluntarily when asked to do so. All it takes is motivation. The National and the Local Governments and their agencies should make their needs known and ask that Volunteer groups be formed, depending on the scale and the nature of each project and that the volunteers plan and execute the project with Governments (National or Local) providing the necessary means and the Volunteers the work of planning and execution. No doubt the results would be astonishing.
If the Ministry of Education would encourage Volunteer-ism, in coordination with the National and Local Governments and their agencies the growth of Volunteer-ism in Greece would benefit the country economically and, which is more, socially. It would inject in to Greek Life a sense of Unity for a purpose, a sense of collaboration for a goal, a sense of “together we can”. At a time like the present Volunteer-ism could go a long way towards lifting the spirit of the people and helping the country get back on its feet.
The Government could get over its passive attitude to Volunteerism and put in place the necessary legal framework that will make it possible and effective, like the screening, the suitability and the background checks of volunteers and of course provide the Insurance coverage for them, when they conduct voluntary work.
The Government should make Volunteerism safe and rewarding for all involved.