"Look, you're going to be one next week, and it's time for you to start giving back. So I think you need to do some volunteer work this weekend."
...so off we went, to volunteer at the Fairgrounds, passing out new kicks to school-aged children at the Hands and Hearts Shoe Drive. No one was expecting me, and I had never worked with Hands and Hearts of Delaware County before, but I had been told they may be short-handed because of the great community response to the event. We saw students preparing for the first day of preschool, including a young scholar who was delighted to find a sparkly pair of Shopkins slip-on's in her size. On the other end of the spectrum, there were hopeful high schoolers looking for the perfect footwear for the sports of their choice, or in a color that satisfied school guidelines. I think the best moment of the morning for me was when a too-cool 10th grade boy asked about red and black size 12 high-tops, and BOOM, I FOUND SOME. No Sir, your teenaged poker face is no match for my shoe-selection prowess, as demonstrated by Exhibit A: ginormous smile.
By 12:00, the smallest volunteer was ready for snuggles and snacks (see dazed expression in photo above), so we went home to debrief over some well-deserved baby puffs and fizzy water. Here are the key takeaways from this experience:
Just show up. Even if you're not part of the organization and nobody knows you, they would love your help. Or, be even better and sign up in advance, help plan and organize, BUT DON"T SIT OUT.
Be excited. The students of Muncie deserve your enthusiasm.
Start 'em young. Okay, so there is a slight possibility that Levi wasn't as helpful as maybe some other volunteers, but he will look at that picture and feel the pride that can only come from helping others.
Here's the organization's Facebook page if you'd like to help out: