“Those who can, do. Those who can do more, volunteer.” – Author Unknown
Monday, June 16th
Volunteering has always been a joy for me. It’s a foot in the door, on-the-job training, and a great way to meet people.
Long before I had the good sense to follow through with my convictions and show up regularly, I was volunteering for weeding parties and not quite making it to the events. I know now just how integral volunteers are in organizations, especially in this economy, and I don’t want to waste anyone’s time. So I have tried to step up in my daughter’s first year of school and help when the asks are congruent with my availability. Today, it was to help with the parent-lead revival of the school’s Field Day.
I asked to be on bubble duty for a three-hour shift since I would have my three-year-old son in tow. I figured chalk and bubbles would be just about perfect for his sensibilities…and mine. It was a cold rainy day, so we wore layers and bundled up in rain gear. We staked out some real estate on the blacktop and waited for the children to arrive. And arrive they did. The youngest kids jumped on and over one another to get to the bubbles. The slightly older kids started playing a game called “Stomp the Jellyfish” where the bubbles became something new entirely. The oldest kids mulled around the bubble bucket, paying closer attention to their peers’ social cues. The only trouble was that the bubbles didn’t really work.
By the end of the three hours, my son’s fingers were numb and I was tapped out. My daughter was overwhelmed and complained about being cold and tired. I couldn’t really drop everything and comfort her since I was trying to keep from slipping in the growing puddle of bubble solution. The kids had so many different personalities and varying energy levels. Coupled with the cold weather, it was hard to pull through all three hours. I had encouraged one of the children in the autism program to do a sun dance to bring on the warmer temperatures and don’t you know, it worked…as soon as I got home and into a fresh set of clothes. As I looked outside, I could see a familiar glistening. The neighbor boys were creating small orbs and sending them off into the wind. Yes, more bubbles.
Do you ever lose sight of the purpose and/or get bitter while volunteering?