Friday, February 24, 2012

What Volunteering is all About

My library co-workers, Pat and Helen, and I arrived at StarShine early last Tuesday to work on the children’s library. Upon our arrival, we discovered, to our dismay, our library-folding table had disappeared. It is hard to organize and mark books for the appropriate age groups while standing up, so we went into action.

While Pat and Helen scoured the area around the library, I went to the ‘front office’ in search of our table. On the way, I encountered Maria, who joined in the search and then Mr. Dan, the Kindergarten teacher, who also started looking for the table. By this time I didn’t care what table I had, I just needed a table. The end result was that I located a table and two high school boys carried it back to the library for me. Maria went back to the kitchen, Mr. Dan went back to his classroom and I went back to the library.

Meanwhile, Pat and Helen scoured around and found some chairs and we were in business.
We got to work designating the books for the proper classes using a “dot” system I initiated last year – yellow dots for kindergarten books, orange dots on the first and second grade books and green dots on the 3rd, 4th and 5th grade books. Simple, but it works. It also takes time to place a dot on the spine of each book and then place it on the appropriate shelf.

I must say we were on a roll, that is, until we suddenly ran out of the colored dots. Pat offered to drive to the nearest office supply store to replenish our supplies. While she was shopping, Helen and I decided to visit the middle school-high school library and see what we were facing after the move.  We stood and looked at a perfect mess – at least a dozen large boxes full of books with some boxes piled on the book shelves, 5 or 6 chairs and a vacuum cleaner. Just like at home, any empty room becomes a depository for things you don’t know where to put!

We scurried (as much as elderly women can scurry) back to the children’s library. Pat had arrived with new supplies and we set about getting the job done. This library is coming together nicely with only one small bookcase to put together (my husband volunteered for that job) and several comfy chairs for the children in an adjoining room we call, ‘The Book Nook’. So, we’re almost ready to invite the children into their new library. Then we’ll move on to the older students’ library.

We broke for lunch and decided to try the new Mexican restaurant across the street from the school, only to discover it is a Mexican grocery store. A pizza place was just few doors away so we made our way to it and discovered it was only take-out. We then spied a coffee cafĂ©, and that’s all they offered, coffee. The last choice was a sandwich shop and we felt like we’d found the golden chalice. Over lunch we laughed ourselves silly and agreed we were doing okay for ‘oldsters’.

Later in the day, I thought about my time with my friends and the children at StarShine and I thought – this is what volunteering is all about – doing worthwhile things for others and having a heck of a fun time doing it.

If you enjoyed this inspirational Kids Without Stuff story about the joys of volunteering, you will want to read: