I consider myself to be socially conscious and try to donate time/money/items to various program that assist those in need. But a recent event over my break challenged some of those concepts in my mind.
So owing to a 1-time forgetting to lock the car doors, someone decided to hop in our car and smoke a cigarette and take a few items. There was obvious rummaging through the glovebox and some in the rest of the car, wiped dog poop on some not-so-important papers. It is significant to note that since we are so fortunate and do have many things that it took us awhile to figure out exactly what had gone missing.
The final tally appears to be:
-Some food (crasins, miniature candy bars, lifesavers; the cookies from subway remained)
-Shelter (a sleeping bag)
-Some really random stuff (Led Zepellin CD, headphones, sunglasses and holder, and my husband's rx glasses)
Fortunately, we didn't have any money taken, wallets were in the house and even the spare change remained in the ashtray. And the only Christmas gifts that were taken were the CD and the candy bars. Nothing was of sentimental value and the most expensive pieces (glasses and sleeping bag) will not be an undo hardship to replace. However, there is the feeling of having your security violated. I had already been a little on edge since I had narrowly avoided a pickpocketing/purse snatching before we left on the trip. I don't consider the towns that I live in to be dangerous (or at least THAT dangerous) and it's a rude awakening when an unfortunate event that so often happens to others hits close to home. I was also struck by the random items that were taken, and I question how they can be potentially useful to someone. The lack of logic just confuses me, I expect rational behavior from others.
I was hurt by the fact that this did happen at Christmastime... also because I do routinely reach out and try to help those who are less fortunate. My husband and I participate in charity for our church, the salvation army, goodwill, coats for kids, planet aid. I used to be part of a school of medicine outreach to the homeless. I guess I felt like I deserved not to be affected by this kind of crime due to the charitable actions we take. But I was thinking about this today, and I guess that if there is one person in the community, country, or world that has to resort to theft to meet their most basic needs, then there's obviously more that we all should be doing. And this is relevant to OT as every OT (really every person at all, but everyone in the profession founded on helping others maximize their lives) should champion social justice causes. There are very few among us who cannot do more, and likely very many that just need to do something. Plenary sessions at previous AOTA Conferences have focused on OT and community involvement, and it is something that I believe our profession could easily reach into. But until then, we'll just have to do what we each can to try to help.