Thursday, November 4, 2010

Last-minute Volunteers

Most volunteer jobs require training or some commitment, but you can feel good in a heartbeat by just paying attention to those around you. That's what three sophomore students did for me today. I was swamped, and nearly in tears this morning to think the job before me would last into late night hours, after the family dinner and birthday party for my stepson Logan. The day whizzed by, I tried not to notice the clock as it crept closer to 3:30 p.m. That would be time to go pick up supplies for the dinner and pick up my daughter from her job interview and head home at rush hour.

First Elizabeth was determined to alphabetize a stack of 200 letters. She had so much "fun" that she asked if she could invite her friend Adriana. They both decided it would be faster if Jennifer joined them, so we started an assembly line of the papers to be delivered. First sorting, then stapling, folding and taping. The girls enjoyed bantering back-and-forth, with me chiming in whenever I had a clue what they were talking about. The sweetest part was when Jennifer asked, "Don't you have any help to do this? Like, what would you do if we weren't here?" I told her I had already planned to take it home and stay up late, knowing the papers had to be delivered to 200 students on Friday morning. "Wow," she said, "that makes me feel really good that we could help."

And that's all it takes to feel good sometimes. Just pay attention and be willing to lend a hand if you've got some extra time. The girls stayed with me for fifty minutes--just long enough to sort through most of the papers and to be ready for tomorrow. As we finished the birthday dinner at my house tonight, I took my dog Maxie for a walk, caught a falling star, and packed my bag for a weekend getaway. None of this would have been possible without the help of my last-minute volunteers at school today!

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