Posts Tagged ‘volunteering’

I have always been a volunteer. A volunteer for just about everything and anything. If my help is needed, I volunteer.

This year I volunteered to lead a creative writing workshop at the charter school that sponsors my grandson’s home schooling. I volunteered to do a short workshop, with about 6 meetings. They gave me a class that meets at 9 AM every Tuesday morning and has kids from 3rd grade to 5th grade. The kids show up when they want. It’s not mandatory. The abilities range from not being able to write a sentence to one girl who has written an entire book about dragons and castles and magic.

The school is not too far, about a 20 minute drive. However, it’s “over the river and through the woods,” meaning that I travel through quite a diverse terrain. And, like this morning, it is usually very foggy most of the way. Now we’ve entered our winter weather season here in Oregon and we have “winter mix” in the forecast today and “probable snow” next Tuesday.

So I don’t want to do this anymore. At what point do I tell them, I’m not doing it anymore? It’s not like they don’t have anyone. There is a teacher assigned to do it but, because I expressed an interest in teaching a workshop, she gave me her job. I’m sort of stuck. I don’t want to back down on a commitment but this is not working out for me. No one seems to even appreciate it over there, the adults, that is. I showed up one time only to find out that there were no classes because they were auditing and no one told me there would be no classes that week. When I email, I get no reply. When I call and leave voice mail, I get no reply.

Frustration doesn’t begin to cover this.


I got there this morning only to find that they ate canceling classes because the electricity is it in one of the buildings and the Internet is our in all buildings. So I came home, frustrated again. I’m done for the calender year because they have testing next week and the following week is a special holiday event. I guess that gives me time to decide. 

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I have mentioned previously that I volunteer at my grandson’s school. He is in Kindergarten. Usually, I do one of two things. I either help with kids’ printing practice, one on one, or I take a couple out in the group work center (in the hallway) to work on an art project. I think it’s sad that there is no time for the kids to have an art project as a whole group but there is so much to be covered that there just is no time. I enjoy doing the art projects, though so it’s a good fit for me.

Before Christmas, I was asked to do an art project where the kids would be working on making a Christmas tree picture using their shapes. We were using a large triangle, a small rectangle, and circles. The instructions were for them to (1) draw a large triangle then a (2) small rectangle touching the bottom of the triangle. They had a sample to look at and I explained it slowly and carefully to each of the two (at a time) students. There was more to it but I only gave those instructions until they had completed those steps. The first three kids really had a problem drawing the triangle and we had to erase a lot. So I thought to lightly draw three dots and have them connect them with their pencil to form the triangle. It worked like a charm but I only did it for those that were having trouble with the triangle. So when it was Anderson’s turn (that’s my grandson), I drew the dots for the other child and then turned to help Anderson. When I turned, he had seen me draw the dots and had drawn his own three dots, and was connecting them! No help needed. I was very pleased but the triangle wasn’t quite like the others. It was narrower and not quite as large as the others. However, I did not have the heart to tell him to erase it. He had done such a good job with no help! So what if his was a little different?! I think he made a perfect little Christmas tree!

The last steps were to use a large marshmallow in paint to fill in the triangle and the rectangle; then a small marshmallow to paint ornaments on the tree. Kind of a clever way to incorporate triangles, rectangles, and circles (which they were studying that week) into a seasonal project!


Anderson’s Three Shapes Christmas Tree

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I sat in the waiting room and looked at the clock on the wall.  I had now been there for over two hours and I was the only person in the room.  There had been no one ahead of me and no one behind me in line.  Me.  Just me.  And this quick walk-in task had turned into a two plus hour task.  Had I known that, I would have stopped for a bite to eat.  It was now after 2 PM and I had nothing in my stomach.  No food.  No coffee.  No juice.  No nothing.  How much longer would this be?  By the time I finished, it would be time to go get my grandson from pre-school and I would have no time to get anything to eat and I was already feeling shaking from not eating.  How much longer.

Or maybe a better question would be: Why?  Yup.  That’s the better one.  Why?  That was a tough one to answer, yet very easy at the same time.  I have been doing this for as long as I can remember.  I have missed it in the past six or so years but now I wanted it again.  Volunteering.  It is a way of life for me.  I remember going for a walk when I was first married.  I had decided to get out of the apartment and go for a walk on a sunny October afternoon and I had ended up walking by an elementary school during recess.  I had watched the kids playing on the playground and for the rest of my walk, I had thought about calling the school district to see if they needed volunteers.  I could watch the kids on the playground during recess.  I could watch them cross the street after school.  I could do a lot of things to help those kids.  So I had called the school district and instead of ending up volunteering, I had ended up with a paying job as a classroom assistant, after a long two month screening and testing period.  But I had loved working with the kids.  I only did it for about seven months then the end of the school year came along and over the summer we moved way far away, on the other end of the county so that job was gone and I missed working with the kids.  Then my own kids came along and I was bitten by the volunteer bug.  PTA.  Girls Scouts.  Cub Scouts.  School Foundation.  You name it, I did it.  I was the Room Mother.  I was the Den Leader.  I was the Troop Leader.  When we couldn’t find a Scout Master for our Cub Scout Troop, guess who did it?  Yup.  Moi.  When we lost our dad that played Santa Claus for our elementary kids each year, guess who dressed as Santa?  Yup.  You guess it.  Me.  When they needed a PTA president and no one would do it and I was a single mom with no help with my three kids in two different schools, I did it.  When they needed a president for the fund raising foundation at the elementary school, I did it.  When they needed one of the parents of a child in the Gifted program to represent parents at the School District Meetings, I did it.  I could go on forever.  I did it all.

In fact, at one point, I was listed on the program for a theater production at my kids’ elementary school under the heading of They Can’t Say No.

And here I was again.  Waiting to get my TB test for clearance to work in my grandson’s pre-school classroom.  And waiting.  And hungry.  And thirsty.  And 58 years old.  And wondering why I was even doing it.  Then I remembered.  For Anderson.  For my grandson.  I would sit here and wait as long as needed so I could help his pre-school class or help in the office if that is where they need me.  Yup.  It’s for him.  It’s for me.  It’s so that I can see his smiling face and his proud face when he saw me helping.  I remember that face and that smile from my own kids.  I was always the mom that could be counted on and, even when they did not say it out right, they liked it.  To this day, my kids talk about how I was the mom that went on every single field trip during elementary, middle, and even high school.  When I was needed, there I was and they felt some comfort knowing that.  They liked it.  They liked seeing me in the middle of the day helping out at school, wherever I was needed.

Yup.  I would sit and wait.  And be patient.  And I would know that it would all be worth it.

So I did just that.

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