Adventures in Volunteering

This week , I am volunteering at vacation bible school at our church. (Don’t worry, I can keep it clean for the kiddies!)  So in order to patch my personal suck, will be having shortened posts this week. In honor of the summer of service, here are 5 lessons learned from volunteering:

Me and my homegirl, D.

Me and my homegirl, D.

Boys and Girls Club

This one changed the course of my life.  I started volunteering at the after school program to help get myself out of a depression. And man, did it help. Those kids made me smile every single day. It was awesome, the boys and girls club does great work. It was wild and rambunctious and is a positive place for kids. It also really helped me find my way out of my funk.  Sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is to start helping others. My time at the Boys and Girls club greatly influenced my decision to become a teacher.

My homegirls at the boys and girls club.

My homegirls.

Getting Obama Elected

How many times have you said angrily, “I’m going to volunteer for the _______  campaign!”  I had threatened to get involved often over the years, yet managed to do NOTHING. This year, I got involved. I made phone calls for the Obama campaign and the day before the election, I went door to door to remind democrats to get out and vote. It wasn’t much at all, but it felt great to do something after a lifetime of doing nothing.

I also participated in the WA state election process. I went to the caucus during the primary. From there, I was elected to be a delegate at the legislative district caucus. That was my favorite part of the election season, it was inspiring to see democracy at the most grassroots level. Where all citizens are truly able to participate (not just the ones who can raise lots of $$$). The statement of the democratic party’s goals and positions lead to such boisterous and interesting discussions. I will do this again. It was one Saturday and it totally renewed my faith in our democracy.

Domincan Republic 1996
Domincan Republic 1996

Peace Corps

The experience has forever changed me. When I first returned, I was so happy for hot water and a constant flow of  electricity. That was all I really needed the first week.

The third world is no longer a faraway idea, it’s people trying to provide for their families and have the best life they can. I will always try to give a voice to what I saw, to these people who are invisible to the materials economy. It is not right for one group to flourish while others starve.  We must work to ensure that all of us move forward together.

Preschool Art Fair

This one was short and sweet. Two hours in a booth for our preschool at a children’s fair. It was nice, because I got to use the skills and talents that had gone dormant since I had become a stay at home mom. I used my people skills to draw people in and my teacher skills to oversee a very messy but fun project. I felt great about the job I had done afterward, I was proud to use my talents and abilities to help our preschool.

Church

You will hear this from me again and again. Churches and schools are the backbone of our communities. If you, or your children, attend either of these institutions, than you should be volunteering. That is what powers these juggernauts, they don’t run without volunteers. Because of the two young Applebums, I use the church programs, but do not have much time to help-out.

Church Easter egg hunt.

Church Easter egg hunt.

Enter Bible school, one week-long opportunity to give back to the church. They always need warm bodies help and my teacher skills are greatly appreciated. I enjoy getting to know the youth of our church. These kids literally grow up in front of our eyes. It’s fun to spend some time in their world. Get to know their names and faces and let them get to know me.

What are your adventures in volunteering?

I would love to hear your volunteer experiences. If you can’t think of one (or if it’s been awhile) here’s the link for you: United We Serve.

Lend me some sugar, I am your neighbor.

Deuces at the club.

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