Living and Giving

The Pamela Positive: The Dutch Turn to Volunteering—and Reduce Crime

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The Netherlands and Belgium incarcerate the same amount of people every year.  Yet, the Dutch are increasingly having their jails emptied.  Their crime rate is fast falling due to innovative initiatives they’ve been promoting since 2001.  With some minor crime, instead of locking people up, they’re promoting community service.  Just two years ago, almost 40% of trials were ending with initiatives requiring the perpetrators to perform volunteer hours in their local community.

As we encourage people to give of themselves, their hearts become more compassionate, and their lives reflect a new appreciation for others.  Often they will see how they can be of help, rather than hindrance, to our society.  They feel good about what they’re contributing.  They gain perspective, that we are all here to help one another, and their confidence soars because they have a purpose. 

We all need to feel valued in our lives.  If we can introduce the concept of giving, no matter what someone has done, their lives can be changed.  It’s a much stronger solution than languishing in a closed-off cell by oneself.  Let’s encourage each other to give, so that we all can benefit from renewed lives and a stronger community.