As I walked into my little office in the high school Guidance Center the other day, I noticed the most thoughtfully arranged flower display atop our secretary's desk. Even though we were all bundled up on a foggy February morning, the bright blooms brought an air of freshness to our century old building. I was a little bit jealous of Jenny, seated with the flowers at constant eye level, but she informed me they were for the entire department to enjoy. They were not from her secret admirer, but from a dedicated parent volunteer who decided to share her talents and spread some cheer .
After snapping a photo of Jenny adorned by the flower arrangement, I proceeded with my day happy that I at least had a donated plant in my office to remind me of winter's end. Lunchtime approached, and I knew it would be a quick snack in the microwave. As I walked toward the vintage kitchen at the end of the corridor to nuke my leftovers, I spotted a glowing woman carrying a large floral arrangement, similar to the one on Jenny's desk. I stopped to find out if she was indeed the maker of these elaborate decorations, and to discern the nature of her motivation. There's no secret, just passion that drives Mrs. Anderson to design flowers for the staff at our high school. She simply loves flowers and has learned all about the varieties available in each season. She makes a stop at Trader Joe's for blooms and cuts them to suit her fancy, placing them in decorative containers as her service to the school community.
Theresa Anderson, and talented people like her, are usually happy to share their artistic skills by teaching others. She took floral design classes at nearby Filoli Gardens, an estate in the woods that has become a nonprofit to promote horticultural endeavors and interests. (Check out their website to see all the ways you can make a difference: www.filoli.org) Theresa, in turn, would love to share her new found knowledge of the trade with high school students or any volunteers that would like to help keep our campus fresh. I've never heard someone say, "Gee, I wish I hadn't received that darned bouquet," so if you're looking for a simple way to make a difference, try it with flowers!
Cool Community Service Ideas: Horticulture
- Plant seeds or have a fundraiser for money to buy flowers, arrange in vases and take to your school or church. My congregation is adorned weekly with arrangements by volunteer florists.
- Make corsages for Mother's Day, or boutonnieres for Father's Day, donate to a nearby care center or Veteran's Administration hospital.
- Plant wildflowers: try Hobbs & Hopkins wildflower fundraising program, see www.protimelawnseed.com/wildflower-fundraising/. "We supply our packaged wildflower seeds, planting instructions and all other necessary support. Your group then creates and applies their own custom labels. Friends and family are happy to buy these special and personalized wildflowers for their home and as gifts for others. It is a welcomed and Earth friendly alternative to traditional fundraising methods."
- Donate a tree at IKEA to benefit AmericanForests.org, you can select any amount at the checkout stand.