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Over 120,000,000 people voted in last year’s Presidential election. 96% of the individuals who voted did so in person. Our guess is that if you consider the commute to the polling location, standing in line and the act of voting itself, it likely took an average of an hour and a half to get the job done.

We wanted to share a few thoughts regarding this reality.

1.) Voting is the lowest common denominator of true engagement. While voting is important, true responsibility of citizenship requires engagement beyond an hour and a half commitment. The very nature of voting implies asking someone else to do something for you, rather than figuring out what you can do for yourself and/or others.

2.)  If those 120,000,000 voters mentioned above offered an hour and a half of time to a constructive volunteer effort once a quarter (four times a year), it would produce 720,000,000 hours of community participation.

3.)  Using an eight hour a day model those hours convert to 90 million work days.  

Just imagine what citizens might accomplish if everyone committed to giving six hours of volunteer time a year. Citizenship is not meant to be enacted in isolation. When we limit the benefits of citizenship to voting, passports and political opinions, we deny ourselves access to the fundamental value of democracy — PARTICIPATION. Furthermore, engagement with the world around us and true connection to other people is what helps us to evolve our consciousness and grow in compassion.  

Let’s re-imagine our role as citizens in 2017! Let us know what you are doing to get involved in your community. We promise to share our engagement with you too. Happy 2017! Now, get out there and spread some GOOD!

Photo: TTSM film director teaching yoga as a volunteer to 5th graders at McGlone Elementary School in Denver, CO