Bryan Smith, a serial, and sometimes simultaneous volunteer is highly involved in the community through multiple organizations with visions for the future as in the case with FutureOxford, with stories and data about our present from his work with the Social Planning Council, and with The Oxford Coalition for Social Justice making environmental and community action happen.
• If you could give your past self some advice, what would you tell yourself? Explore the world! There is nothing like human contact to fill you with ideas. There is nothing like seeing with your own eyes to help you understand. On the other hand, seeing your world through the eyes of others can be astonishing too! When someone sees a streetscape, a forest, or groups of people with fresh eyes, it refreshes your view too.
• Do you have a mantra or phrase you live by? “Come alive to the world you live in” says John B. Lee. Why was it that this autumn, people remarked on the extraordinary colours of leaves? Was it a change in the plants or in our own minds? Then, of course, you have to find the right words to convey that new way of seeing. Are they the words that link the concept to the concrete? Do they mean the same to another person, a listener?
• What is your number one goal this year? Eliminate poverty! In a world that produces excess food, nobody should go hungry. In a neighbourhood of monster homes, nobody should be sleeping on the cold, wet pavement. To do that will require many people to follow their good hearts, and many others to be persuaded that our shared humanity means we should share other things too.
• What is your number one priority when it comes to your daily work? Although I love to roll up my sleeves and do the work that needs going, I also realize that it is important to help others find their capabilities as well, to draw them into the work, and to expand the group constantly. Enlisting others is key to social justice.
• What is your favourite thing about what you do and why? I get to watch the glee in faces when excellent quality food is offered to children, families and seniors who might otherwise have little. • What makes you motivated daily? The knowledge that you get what you give, that you can make change happen, that being optimistic causes you and others to do the necessary work to make the world a better place for all. Seeing a small-scale attempt to save food from being wasted turning into a massive county-wide collaboration call The Great Pumpkin Rescue. It is great, and even greater when farm animals are also feed nutritious free food which helps the farmers produce more food and sustain the soil.