Apparently, a few hours of volunteer work is too much to ask for

For those who don’t know, I was caught smoking marijuana in October (no, I’m not the football player). In Arizona, thanks to a 2002 law, smoking or being under the influence of marijuana is equivalent to possession of marijuana. Also, in Arizona, smoking marijuana is a criminal offense subject to criminal penalties.

Thankfully, because Tucson is a university community, the city and university each have programs, called Diversion, for first-time alcohol/drug offenders to avoid criminal penalties through a series of things including alcohol/drug classes, etc. My Diversion program includes, among other things, 15 hours of community service at any non-profit organization in the Tucson area. Great. Fine.

The Dean gave me a list of non-profit organizations in the area, and I called every single one on campus. (Off-campus is not an option for me: I don’t have a car and I can’t afford the bus.) Every single fucking one. Didn’t reach anyone. Not one ever called back, except the science center/planetarium on campus. So I call them back. Again, and again, and again. Never reached anyone. Got a few messages in return every once in a while. Finally, I go down to the science center and fill out a form describing in detail what I can do and when I can do it. The nice lady at the desk tells me she’ll give it to the Volunteering lady I’ve been playing phone tag with. Great. Fine.

Weeks go by. I call. I call. I call again. Never reach anyone. Nobody’s called me about volunteering opportunities. Finally, today, I reach the Volunteering lady, and tell her that I need 12 hours of community service (I’ve done 3) by the 18th of this month.

What does she say?

“I can’t do anything for you on such short notice.”


On top of that, I can’t find any research for the 5-page paper I have to write for the Diversion program, which I also need to finish by the 18th.

Looks like I’m going to jail. Hooray!

Does your campus have a library? They might be willing to let you shelve books for 12 hours, or run errands, or shift stacks, and sign off on your paperwork. A public library would in a heartbeat (I often worked alongside offenders such as yourself when I was volunteering), sucks about the bus, man. :frowning:

fetus (who can afford marijuana - but not bus fare) is either
A. A mooch who always expects to get turned on
B. A home grower who harvests just enough for one person and doesn’t sell the balance for a profit
C. One of those unfortunate types who was caught smoking the very first time they tried it
D. Looking for sympathy in the same forum where the label ‘goat-felcher’ is traded more often than shares on the NASDAQ

Nope, can’t afford marijuana. I’m a mooch.

Hey now! That’s a little unwarranted, isn’t it? If you read the linked article, it’s pretty clear that **fetus **was a moron in a group of morons smoking an illegal substance in public. There’s no indication that he was a mooch, home-grower, first time smoker or looking for sympathy for smoking pot. He was one of four guys who made a really, really dumb decision. He may be looking for sympathy for having difficulty getting his community service scheduled, but that’s not worthy of name-calling, is it?

Can you get a copy of that form you filled out from the Volunteering lady? If it’s dated, that along with your story may help convince the judge that you’ve been trying. If s/he’s feeling the holiday spirit, maybe you can get an extension. I don’t suppose you kept a call log with dates and numbers that you called?

What sort of research do you need for your paper? Is it a “Why Marijuana is the Devil’s Weed” paper? There’s tons of stuff out there for that.

My shares of GFI (Goat Felcher International) just went through the roof today.

OK, I take back the mooch part, since **fetus **copped to it. Still. It’s pretty common to smoke your friends up if they’re around. If his friend didn’t care, why should you?

Thanks. I hadn’t thought about that. I’ll give it a try.

I’m actually only a mooch since my parents found out I got caught smoking pot. (University policy is to inform the parents if the student is under 21, since it was on campus and thusly a campus police thing.) They don’t give me spending money anymore–justifiably so; I wouldn’t trust a known pot smoker with spending money either.

No, my paper is about the positive and negative effects of marijuana on ADD. The only research I can find is about the fact that students with ADD are more likely to smoke pot, which is completely irrelevant to the topic of my paper.

Seems to me that with 89 current listings for volunteer opportunities on, you should have been able to find something. How many of those did you call? To how many did you mention that you couldn’t afford bus fare and is it possible to arrange rides with other volunteers? How many opportunities were perhaps within a mile or two of campus (walking distance)? Did you ask any of your pothead friends if they could drive you? I have absolutely nothing against you for smoking pot. I feel bad for you that you got busted, as I think that possession should be decriminalized, at least. But based on your story, you didn’t really try that hard to find a solution to this problem.

On preview, I like WhyNot’s idea about the dated form. If you can get in front of the judge and ask for additional time on the basis that you just weren’t able to make proper arrangements, you may get it. You would want to present a plan as to when you are going to be starting (preferably having already started before you appear) and when you will be finished. You might get some leniency.

Try here:
for the research. I put in marijuana attention deficit and searched under pubmed in the drop down menu and got 51 results. I haven’t read them, but hopefully there’s something you can use.

PubMed rocks.

Try a Google search on Claudia Jenson. Follow the links from there.

Lemme see if I’ve got this right.

  1. OP got caught doing bummed herb, in public.
  2. OP does not go to jail.
  3. OP is upset because community service isn’t sufficiently convenient, and may involve activity known by others as walking.

Sorry, but my Waah-O-Meter™ sympathy measuring device only briefly blinked. :dubious:

I worked for the campus radio station when I was in college. I had a couple of friends who needed volunteer hours because of their DUI. I put them to work filing paperwork and taping the sides of torn album covers (that dates me).


Thanks for all the suggestions. I went down to the library and the “person I should talk to” wasn’t there but I got an email address. I haven’t looked at VolunteerMatch yet (I had never heard of it) but it sounds promising and I will. My friend is a DJ at the radio station, so I’ll ask him if he, like hajario, needs lackeys. I haven’t tried PubMed, but if my searches on the school library’s journal search engines are indicative of anything, I expect 51 irrelevant studies. However, I will look. Thanks again to all of you.

And for those complaining about my fishing for sympathy, you missed the point, apparently. If I were looking for sympathy, I would not fish for it in the Pit. I was frustrated at a group I’ve been asking for service hours from for two months not being able to give me anything ‘on such short notice’, so I Pitted them.

fetus, my friend, if I had to offer 15 hours of community service lest my herbed ass end up in the pokey, you can bet I’d do more in two months than make a few phone calls and shrug my shoulders. Consider this training for a future job. One day you’re going to want a job with your degree. Trust me, you’re going to need to be way more persistent if you ever hope to land a job.

Translation: Get off your butt and start being more proactive. Walk to these on-campus places and ask to speak to the person in charge. If they aren’t in, tell them that you’ll be back in an hour. Then show back up in an hour. It’s very easy to ignore a message. It’s not so easy to ignore a living, breathing person sitting in your waiting room, especially one who’s just offered his free services. Just working 2 hours a day, you can complete your requirement by the deadline.

I’d also suggest you visit your local librarian and ask for her help in finding research for your Diversion paper. S/he’d love to help. That’s why they are there.

You have 10 days. I’d suggest you get off your butt, sign off frivolous message boards and start taking charge of your life.

I’d start looking off-campus, and fast. I’m going to be blunt about the bus though: it’s $2 per round trip. I’d find a way to fit it in my budget, frankly – a few bus trips and a tighter budget is a whole lot nicer than jail, I’m sure. Would your parents buy you a few day passes if you explained this to them, perhaps?

If you attend a church, that would be a great place for ideas on volunteer opportunities.

I think MrVisible (who doesn’t look to be on the boards anymore) was/is volunteering with Wingspan (a resource for gay and lesbian youth in the Tucson area) for a while and had quite a few positive things to say about them. I don’t know if that would be something for you, but if it is, it seems like a pretty positive place.

About the paper, can you change the topic at all within a reasonable scope (obviously something like the dangers of marijuana)? But I have to say, trying to do a 5 page paper in less than two weeks with limited sources is very good preparation for the rest of your classes.

You’ll just need to be more proactive and assertive about this – PunditLisa has some great suggestions there. It’s going to take some work, but it seems like it’s a doable thing, because it’ll be a whole lot better than jail and having a record just for smoking marijuana a few years down the road when you’re looking for post-college jobs.

Or, you know, a guy who likes to smoke pot. I wouldn’t know personally, but I’ve heard it’s pretty common on college campuses.

Cripes, I mean, the dude’s trying at least to do his community service. But yeah, he oughta suck it up and buy a bus pass. But I don’t think he deserves what you mentioned above; pot is not exactly a major threat to society.

Incidentally, if you have ADD you oughta be careful. Pot has an extra attraction to those of us with ADD; it’s not a great idea to get into it if you’ve got the disease. (I should talk . . . .)

I’ve worked with a number of volunteer-based organizations and I can confirm that the complaint of not being able to give away volunteer time is a common one.

The difference between a succcessful organization and an unsuccessful one can come down to how you manage your volunteers. It’s amazing how many volunteer-based organizations have no idea what to do with them.

Hey, fetus - why don’t you offer to be a volunteer coordinator? clearly they all need one !