Weekly Check-In

It’s almost mid-June… I can’t believe it’s summer and the year is getting close to halfway over!

Traditional Volunteerism

  • 4 hours Crisis Text Line

Charitable Giving

  • $0

Personal Kindnesses

  • I really have to say the Beatles got it right – I get by with a little help from my friends (well the first part of that song). I’m not sure what I did to be kind this week but I am sure that my friends are always demonstrating kindness to me.

Self Care

  • I started a two week daily yoga challenge. Starting your day (or squeezing a few minutes in anywhere) makes such a difference. I took some time in my practice to set an intention for each day. Having something to focus on and ground you throughout the day makes such a difference. I should do yoga everyday all year long but 2 weeks is a good start.

How did you do this week? Share in the comments!

Why Volunteer?

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Someone asked me the other day why I volunteer. They made some other assumptions but I’ll tell you the real story (as well as I can).

I’m also a writer and there is always talk about why you’re are a writer, who really is a writer, and what reasons are valid. The standardly accepted response is; Writers write because they have to. For me it’s not that simple. I could say I write because I have to, because I’m compelled to but I write to put my head in order, and I write to remember, and I write to communicate, and I write to understand things (like Didion). But mostly I write because I love reading and someday I hope to write something that will effect someone else the way that my favorite books have effected me.

I don’t have the same clarity as to why I volunteer. It’s partially because I always have. I started volunteering with my family when I was around 8 years old. Some if it is because I get to participate in pretty cool events, I used to usher to see plays or the ballet. Occasionally I’ll be invited by a friend. It does look good on my resume and that’s a real benefit. The first answer that always comes to mind is why wouldn’t I volunteer?

I think really though it’s how I feel when I happen to be in the right place, offering the right help, at the right time. When I feel like I actually might be changing the world.

Why do you volunteer? Are we all just crazy?

Weekly Check-In

A bit of a hectic week but with some good surprises.

Traditional Volunteerism

  • 1 hour Stop Hunger Now – My company had a volunteering event that had a Stop Hunger Now activity. We packaged 10,000 meals. I highly recommend this as a team building activity. You get to wear hair nets! haha.
  • 4 hours Crisis Text Line

Charitable Giving

  • $0

Personal Kindnesses

  • We all get busy and it’s easy to be a flake. It’s easy to put off plans or change your mind. I did my very best this week to make sure I kept commitments to friends or were clear with them that I just couldn’t make it.

Self Care

  • With the three day weekend I got to fit in some extra time with friends. I also took my dog to a coffee shop. She’s a rescue and after 3 years she’s finally mellowed enough (and been rehabbed enough) that I can take her to a coffee shop and sit outside and enjoy myself.

How did you do this week? Share in the comments!

One in a Million

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“Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.”

– Howard Zinn

When I had that awful cold last week (which is still lingering) I started to feel frustrated that I couldn’t help. I get so much joy from being productive and helping others that to have to sit on the couch all day and sleep isn’t something fun for me. Especially after my big amazing week of volunteering at the Invictus Games. I had to cancel my Crisis Text Line shift and my appointment to donate blood and had to end another Crisis Text Line shift early.

Missing my blood donation appointment was hard on me and I’m still looking for a good time to fit it back in but I really do need to feel 100% to donate. Donating blood as much as I’m able is really a big focus for me this year. And of course I got a few emails that this last weekend my blood type was in short supply for platelet donations. I felt even worse.

Then today I came across this Howard Zinn quote and it reminded me to calm down. Two weeks or a month out of the year focusing on myself and my health doesn’t matter. The small things I do the rest of the year can transform the world. I’m one of millions of people who volunteer, who donate blood, who counsel those in need, who help with events. Together we’ve got this. I can take a rest if I need it because someone is out there to help pick up the slack. And when I get back to full health I can give someone else with the helping spirit a little slack when they need it.

Weekly Check-In

Sorry for the absence… I had the worst cold last week that only allowed me the energy to do the necessities. Mostly I just slept as much as possible. I’m still getting over it and have a bit of a lingering cough but at least I’m awake. I had to miss my blood donation appointment though and am hoping I’m feeling 100% soon so I can get back on track.

Traditional Volunteerism

  • 4 hours Crisis Text Line

Charitable Giving

  • $0

Personal Kindnesses

  • I tried my very best to keep my sickness to myself. I avoided doorknobs and touching shared surfaces without breaking out the cleaning wipes. I wouldn’t want anyone else feeling this way.

Self Care

  • Letting myself be sick and just resting is hard for me but I did it. Lots of quality couch time.

How did you do this week? Share in the comments!

Weekly Check-In

I happily busy preparing for the week ahead. I’m very excited for my first volunteer based vacation.

Traditional Volunteerism

  • 4 Hours Crisis Text Line.

Charitable Giving

  • $0

Personal Kindnesses

  • There was an accident at work and I was able to stay calm and get into action to get the woman medical attention. Everyone needs help at some point and I was happy to do what little I could to help her.

Self Care

  • Daydreaming about my trip! Planning and organizing can be part of the joy of vacation. Also I’ve been cleaning my apartment in preparation which means I’ll come home to a nice clean place.
  • There is a little pond where I work and this week there were nine baby ducks! The little fluffy balls of spring brought me so much joy.

Please share in the comments how you’re doing this week!

Countdown to Invitus

Only 5 days until I’ll be in Orlando for the Invitus Games! I’m very excited and also in scramble mode trying to get things done. I’m starting to see why people take Voluntourism vacations that are pre-planned… Pulling things together from across the country is a lot of work. I’m also doing a 10k and a half marathon this weekend. I had signed up for it previously and it will be the reason I’m going to miss the opening ceremonies of the games.

 

I’m trying to put together a game plan for my posts and what I’m going to write about. I’ll try to do a quick update daily during the games and hope to come away with some longer pieces by the end of my trip. I’m signed up to volunteer from 7am to 11pm most days so we’ll see what happens.

 

The Queen, POTUS, and Trudeau are all ready and have posted twitter videos that are pretty hilarious. So I’m just going to take a queue from them and drop the mic on this post. Game on!

Weekly Check-In

I had a hard week but I had a great week on Crisis Text Line and that made all the difference.

Traditional Volunteerism

  • 4 Hours Crisis Text Line.

Charitable Giving

  • $0

Personal Kindnesses

  • There is a security guard where I work that I got to see on Thursday morning when I came in. He is so happy and his smile and wishing me a good day always seems to have a lot of power. I try to smile at people and hope I can have the same impact. Eye contact and a smile go a lot further than we think.

Self Care

  • I’ve been failing a little bit this week. Aside from dog snuggles I haven’t really done much for myself. Going to change that this weekend.

Please share in the comments how you’re doing this week!

Making Sure Your Help is Helping

On Sunday I watched a piece on CBS Sunday Morning – When Disaster Relief Brings Anything But

It was devastating. One leader in the field had a slideshow of disaster relief disasters; piles and piles of unneeded clothing, warehouses full of unused teddy bears and toys. As someone inclined to help it’s upsetting to see that every little bit doesn’t count, that good intention is far from enough, and it reminded me how important it is to think about how best to direct our urge to help. The inclination to be kind is a spark, a wonderful spark, but to turn it into a healing fire it takes thought and restraint and work.

For me one of the harder areas of philanthropy is supporting our troops. I’ve written letters in support drives, sent scarves in care packages, and I clap and say thank you at airports but it all seems very misdirected.

There was an article in the NY Times last year about that – Please Don’t Thank Me for My Service – The article was wonderfully written and reinforced my instinct that I wasn’t doing enough or doing it quite right.

I’m so excited to go to the Invictus Games!  It’s going to be a fun event and maybe I’ll be able to get some insight into how to help. Sometimes the biggest sticking point is that we need those who need the help to guide us. They know best what they need but sometimes they don’t really know what they need.

I run across vets when I’m crisis counseling. I’ve seen PTSD in real life and what it means to be a military family. But I still feel like I’m missing some key, the answer is still in a code I can’t seem to break. What does “I support our troops” really mean and how can I stop it from feeling like a phrase in a foreign language? How do I make more than a beau geste?

Weekly Check-In

So sad that Prince is gone. Again I’m seeing so much art, music, and writing -the best way to heal from tragedy.

Traditional Volunteerism

  • 4 Hours Crisis Text Line.

Charitable Giving

  • $5 – There was a pancake breakfast for the local fire department. They raised money for burn victims and I got pancakes. Win-Win!

Personal Kindnesses

  • One of my co-workers lost their job this week. It was just a day after I had said to her that I hoped she’d stay. I really genuinely wish her the best and very much respect her positive attitude about everything.

Self Care

  • I got to do something nice for my niece. I made her a running tutu for her first 5k. Now my apartment is covered in glitter. I hope she’s as excited as I am for her.

Please share in the comments how you’re doing this week!