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Opinion: Someone in need calls our names

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The Kings of Leon won a Grammy Award for singing, “You know that I can use somebody.”

What if we did a 180-degree turn on that popular tune and gave ourselves to be used by somebody?

A Web site developed in Springfield sets out to do just that. It’s called www.servesomeone.org, and it’s the brainchild of Shawn Askinosie (when does his brain turn off?), Springfield’s version of Willy Wonka.

Knee-deep in chocolaty goodness at Askinosie Chocolate on Commercial Street, the high-profile attorney hatched an idea. Well, he’s hatched several ideas, novel ones, really, the latest being “Hey, Hey Hazelnut” chocolate produced at the small-batch factory.

The Web site is far removed from Askinosie and his chocolate factory.
Nowhere on the site will you find his name or any name, for that matter.

I’ll disclose here that the developers of the site, Springfield marketing firm Grand & Weller LLC, served the cause and built the site pro bono. Sure, it took a year to complete, but Askinosie’s OK with that. It’s live now.

So, how’s it work?

It simply asks each of us to choose one person to serve until the person doesn’t need it anymore. We’re all in tough times. But what we consider tough might sparkle like gold to someone else.

How can you serve? That’s up to you.

The site gets the thought going and moves us toward one another. Then it sends regular reminders of the service act you’ve indicated as your mode of operation.

First, think with me about someone you know in need. It could be anybody – a co-worker, neighbor, relative, someone you regularly see on a street corner or a former colleague, maybe due to a layoff. I’ve got mine. That didn’t take long.

Now, consider their needs. Where do you want to jump in? It could be service through meals, coffee, cleaning, lawn care, transportation, notes of encouragement, prayer or phone calls.

Next, enter their first name and that’s all. No other identifying information is requested.

Finally, choose your reminder options – both when and how – because life is busy. Set the frequency of your service, and you’ll get daily, weekly, monthly or bimonthly reminders via e-mail or text messages. The site says it will never send you unsolicited messages or sell your contact information, and each reminder contains an opt-out.

The site also notes, “This is not a contract. Lightning will not strike if you don’t follow through.”

It’s off to a modest start with 30 currently signed up to serve someone. The site tracks the number of people being served – like McDonald’s and its burgers. Not that it’s about the numbers, surely not corporate profits, but it kind of is about volume. The more people served until no longer in need, the greater the impact and the sooner our streets are restored.

I’ve learned that “Use Somebody” is a double entendre by Kings of Leon. Either the author desires to selfishly take advantage of another or longs for a relational closeness with a human spirit.

If we opt for the latter, I guess my suggested 180 is not necessary. But if we’re honest, most of us live on a “you for me” basis. Servesomeone.org turns our thinking to “me for you.”

A few tracks later on Kings of Leon’s Only by the Night CD, there’s a gem called, “Be Somebody.” It says, “Given a chance, I’m going to be somebody. If for one dance, I’m going to be somebody.”

Here’s a chance.

Our community sure doesn’t lack in options to give of your time, talents and treasures.
Find somebody.

Springfield Business Journal Editor Eric Olson can be reached at eolson@sbj.net.[[In-content Ad]]

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