"Kinda took offense to that..."

My wife, Natalie, and I moved to Indianapolis in late April this year. We often talked about how much we were looking to volunteer in our new city and were pretty excited about getting involved. During the first weekend living in our new temporary neighborhood, I came across a Twitter post to help plant a memorial garden along the Monon Trail. Three days in and we were getting our hands dirty and meeting some new neighbors. Then Natalie took to it quickly. Immediately, she jumped in and became active with Indy Reads, going through training for multiple opportunities. I was just the opposite. I struggled to find something that didn't want a long term commitment. I felt there was so much need and was having a hard time making decisions. I wanted to try some things out, see where I felt like I was a fit. I discovered School on Wheels and am getting a slow start there, stuffing envelopes and soon going through training to be a substitute tutor. 

On a walk one night this summer, Natalie said to me, "I've heard from two organizations that they really struggle to find men to volunteer." The more we talked, the more I took offense to her statement. Not that I was mad at her for saying it, just that I was a bit embarrassed to be in a category that didn't seem to be helping enough. And I definitely knew I wasn't doing my part. 

I figured I could just start volunteering more, start contacting some organizations to try some things out like I am with School on Wheels. But that impact would only be so big. And I have some amazing friends, men, that are incredibly generous and see the value of investing their time and talents. I know there are plenty of inspirational quotes about doing things as a group, making a bigger impact than the individual effort. I can't recite them. I just know they exist and I believe them. That's why Deploy will succeed. Because there is a group of men in this city that will make it so. We'll work together and make a significant impact. We'll make each other better. The experiences will make us better. Our communities will become stronger. We'll make some friendships along the way and come to be the biggest contributors of volunteer time to the city of Indianapolis. Then nobody, not even Natalie, will be able to say there is a struggle to find male volunteers. #letsgo #BeDeployed

- Justin Clifford