The project was a new idea that we developed, based off an event that Tara attended while on vacation in San Francisco (yes, her family volunteers while ON VACATION!). It was a family fair type event that was meant to teach and empower low-income families while community-building. I believe you can say that we were successful with all of these things!
Our Creation Station had six different stations and goals:
- First Aid station: teaching basic first aid, while providing each person with a take-home first aid kit, consisting of an ace bandage, 10 bandaids, neosporin, 3 gauze pads, a gauze wrap, disposable gloves, and some Mr. Yuk stickers. The volunteer at that station spoke to each item and then each child got to put them in a large baggie with their name on it.
- Cards for Kids station: making cards for kids in the hospital - a great way for families who are normally on the receiving end to be on the other side and feel the joy of giving back to others.
- Photography station: most low-income families do not have regular photos taken of themselves, and being a photo-nut, it's important to me to incorporate this when I can.
- Cooking station: Nutritious and easy snacks that they can make from items they probably already have, but don't necessarily think to put together.
- Crocheting station: a talent that can live with them for life! I learned when I was young and never forgot. Once you learn, you can easily make blankets or scarves with just a basic stitch! Handy skill to know.
- Thank You card station: for our donors. It's important for the families to acknowledge those who gave, and it's great for the donors to receive a handwritten note.
We started collecting supplies in October, though we should have pushed harder for big donors (lesson learned), we ended up with everything we needed in the end.
|This was just half the supplies for the first aid station!|
|Putting together first aid kits.|
|Thank you card station-looks busy!!|
|Making cards for sick children.|
|Crocheting! I taught so many people!!!|
|This boy tried REALLY hard for a long time and finally it just clicked and he did it! He didn't want to try to learn any more-just a basic stitch...which meant he couldn't do the corner. So by the time we were done, he had about a 6-foot long chain.|
|Chatting it up with some non-english speakers-fun working on my Spanish skills!|
|Cooking class, messy but fun!|
|These were awesome snacks!!|
|A special creation. I'm not sure how this was eaten...|
|Drawing for the door prizes at the end of the day-we had a crowd of very eager kids!|
|Can she be cuter? Probably not...|
There were just a few issues, of course nothing is ever perfect, right? The first was the number of volunteers who canceled on me. I called everyone...twice....to confirm they were attending, since it is a pilot project and we were depending on each volunteer. I have been guilty of having to cancel on a volunteer project in the past myself, everyone does at some point...but I had 4 cancel at the last minute, another person got lost and just never made it, and then another I never heard from at all (I talked to her 3 days ago). Frustrating. It happens. Not sure I could have done more to avoid the no-shows...I did more than I typically do to make sure we were covered.
Another issue in planning such a large project is that we really had no idea if we would be able to get what we needed. Both Tara and I ended up buying more than we probably would have chosen to, but that's the way it goes, right? Remember the backpack project last year, where I had no idea how I was going to come through and then it just kind of happened? I think I need to remember that not everything always works out so smoothly and I need to leave more time to make adjustments to the project, or have a Plan B.
I'm not complaining...just making note that these projects don't just magically happen. There is a lot of planning and stress on the backside.
So what is holding people back from trying? Why aren't more of us out there planning things?
Tara and I planned this project -just two people working together....and we made an impact.
My MLK day was spent living the vision of Martin Luther King, Jr. Every time I hear his speeches, or read his words, I am moved. He was just ONE man who made a HUGE difference in our world.
One person - changed the world. We should all strive to be more like him.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "Life's most persistent and urgent question is: 'What are you doing for others?'"
Ask yourself that. And then go do something.