Monday, May 03, 2010

Making a Difference

Saturday, May 1, is Make a Difference Day. In the South Bay (an area of LA), organizations and communities come together to adopt much needed projects that otherwise wouldn't have funding to make critical or much desired improvements. This year, my company participated and joined 5,000 other volunteers, which means that I coordinated, planned, recruited volunteers, and basically took on yet another major project. But it was all worth it.

I've mentioned it before, but my company is headquartered in a not so nice area. There are some areas that are dilapidated, blighted, and in some cases, dangerous (don't worry, mom, I don't go there). Across from the civic center is a middle school that is just BLAH. We decided to take on some of the projects they needed help with and in just one day, we saw MAJOR changes. Though it was a Saturday, there were many campus programs happening, and students continually came by and thanked us for volunteering...we made a huge difference in the look of this school. We replanted a memorial rose garden for a deceased teacher, weeded and replanted massive planters in their quad, repainted the backstops in their athletic field, and power washed their bleachers. It was a big job, but we had a lot of fun. The other great thing about this project was having our vendors get involved, volunteer their time, AND donate supplies. It was pretty phenomenal!

Volunteering in the community is something that has always been important to me, but has looked a little different at times in my life. As a teenager, I went on a mission trip to Europe; several years ago, I dug trenches for a dormitory in a Mexican orphanage; when I lived in DC, I read to inner-city elementary school students. I've had the privilege of serving on boards of directors, too. One thing I learned about ten years ago, was that if you can't give financially, you can always give your time and talent. What a great reminder that is when we feel like we're unable to make a great impact on the community around us. Others will be grateful for the service we provide, but ultimately, those who give, receive the greatest reward!

How are you making a difference in your community?

PS - like my hot pink gardening gloves? The Easter Bunny brought them and I was ABSOLUTELY the cutest little worker out there!

1 comment:

CarleeKajsa said...

you look rad. good job JJ!