Sunday I hosted another volunteer project making holiday ornaments. This time it was for the Multnomah County Children's Receiving Center, a facility providing professional care and support to children up to 18 years of age who have been removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect. The children are cared for in a home-like setting until they can transition to foster or alternate family placement.
I had 27 wonderful volunteers this last Sunday for two hours -a very productive and fun group.
Most of the supplies we used came from SCRAP, a local place that promotes recycling and reusing materials. They gave me a $20 donation, which in SCRAP money is like $100. It's pretty random what you will find there-I spent an hour digging through their supplies to come up with $13 worth, which was enough for both ornaments projects AND I have leftovers for my Love Letters project next week.
SCRAP is an awesome idea. When I was there, this mom and her two young kids came in. He was talking about building a robot. She gave him a little basket and set him free to look for things while she browsed through the fabric section. He was digging through bins of random mish-mash and talking things through about how "this can be an arm" or "this will be good on his shield." After he selected a large amount of supplies, the bill was only about $2.25 - an amazingly small amount of money for the entertainment it will provide him and it fosters his creativity while teaching him about recycling.
One of the volunteers Sunday was a 9-yr old girl from China. She has one leg; her prosthetic leg is decorated with the funkiest, coolest patterns on it -I'm not sure if it was a pattern or if it was hand-done (I think it was something the girl did herself). Her adoptive mom told me that she had been exposed to lead poisoning in China as a baby and is developmentally slow, but that her art skills are exceptional. She wasn't lying.
She created these two ornaments on a recycled tin lid using a marker that she rubbed on her finger and then smeared across the tin and just drew pictures that way. I would never have thought to do that in absence of paint, nor could I ever draw that well using my smeared fingerprints! My son and I were working on a reindeer ornament and were struggling about halfway through when we saw this girl walk by with a similar project that looked AMAZING, very unlike our own. A very quiet and polite girl, she worked hard for the full two hours. I love it when kids volunteer but I love it even more when they can stay focused on the project for the full amount of time.
This was a fun project, but a lot more work than my normal project. It was worth every bit of it though, as we made at least a hundred ornaments that will go the local children's hospital and the children's receiving center. It was a nice feel-good project for the holidays.
And, not that I'm keeping track (the Hands on Portland website automatically keeps track), but that puts me at about 100 volunteer hours for the year! A nice accomplishment I think.
Everybody can be great...Because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace - A soul generated by love.