IF YOU COULD VOLUNTEER FOR A CHARITABLE CAUSE, WHICH CAUSE WOULD YOU VOLUNTEER FOR? WHAT HITS HOME FOR YOU?
When I was in college I volunteered as a Big Sister through my university. It wasn’t the best run program, but it was better than nothing. I didn’t my a “little sister” of my own, and as a result I didn’t really have the buy in that is usually associated with volunteer opportunities. Here’s how it worked. On Friday afternoons (Friday? Really? College students, hello… anyone ever hear of happy hour?) a group of us would pile onto a bus for the ride to the projects. We were dropped off in a gym teeming with kids. They were great, those kids. They were thrilled that we came and played with them every week. There were organized games, and disorganized games and time to visit and hang out. It was fun, but rarely would a “big” and “little” form a bond under this system. I wanted something more.
Later, after I relocated to the southwest, I had time on my hands and needed a productive outlet. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do exactly, but I knew I wanted to work with kids in an ongoing capacity. I contacted a volunteer clearinghouse, and they had the perfect fit. I became a brownie troop leader for a group of kids living in poverty. Most of them were bilingual, and all of them were adorable. And guess when we met? Yes, after school on Fridays. Those little girls were thrilled with every activity we did, loved every song we sang, and devoured every snack we shared. They marched in a parade, sold cookies outside a bank, and dressed up for a fancy tea party. I loved those little girls with their chocolate eyes and names that became familiar to my gringa tongue.
Those brownie days were a long time ago, but they are burned into my mind. At the time is cost $6 to join the brownies. Many of the girls didn’t have it. We had a wonderful sponsor who paid their registrations, bought them uniforms, registered them in that parade, and took them to that tea party. She bought them girl scout handbooks, and supplied snacks every week. She was a kindhearted woman who wanted to give something back to the universe. I learned from her.
The causes I give my time and talents to benefit children. Children need to be protected, cherished, and challenged. This I believe, and I put my proverbial money where my mouth is to prove it.