This was quite the colorful weekend, in that I stayed local, didn’t travel to the city or to the mountains, and I basically spent the whole weekend doing things that i love. Lucky me!
I volunteered and it looked like this:
Volunteer by Night
Saturday night, I volunteered at the 40th Anniversary Gala for the organization, Asian American Community Involvement. Upon looking for opportunities for my students to volunteer at, I stumbled upon the perfect organization that fit exactly what I was looking for as well. This organization strives to build healthy communities, provides resources to the elderly and survivors of torture, serves refugees with programming to support them in their transition into the States, and also has a strong advocacy component, spearheaded by the Asian-Pacific Islander (API) community. They also have a strong youth program! Needless to say, AACI is pretty amazing, and it was an honor to be a part of their 40th Anniversary celebration.
I put on a dress, my black heels, and sold raffle tickets like no one’s business. It was definitely a unique experience, and while I didn’t know a single person there except for the woman who kindly invited me to be a part of it, I felt like this was going to be the start of something good! Yes, it was a little nerve-racking to jump into people’s conversations and ask Honorable XYZ, Dr. So and So, Mayor ABC, and Attorney DEF if he/she would like to buy raffle tickets, but it was fun at the same time!
Coincidentally enough, I learned that the woman that was sitting next to at dinner, was the mother of one of my students! That was a cool connection, and the Filipino lady to the right of me shared with me how much she loves volunteering with AACI. 🙂 Just lots of affirmation all over the place – connections everywhere!
Volunteer by Day (Dorothy style!)
The next morning, I woke up early and headed to the local Catholic Worker. Sneakers on my feet, work clothes on, I headed downtown. Different from the night prior! It was comforting to be back in a somewhat familiar setting, where I saw a book of Br. Mickey McGrath, OSFS on one of the tables, inspiring quotes by notable spiritual leaders, and simplicity all around. A group of us gathered to help out with some gardening in the back, and while I had to leave early, the others stuck around and did an awesome job with completion. We also started the day off with an overview of the Catholic Worker community and listened to a brief beautiful journal entry by Dorothy Day, read by one of the live-in workers. I mean, could she be any more inspiring?
The Catholic Worker movement was started by a woman named Dorothy Day during the Great Depression, and these homes of hospitality are run by the generosity, time, energy and love of volunteers. The Catholic Worker communities are run by full-time, live-in workers, and are usually in low-income areas. From providing shelter, food and services to those without, to serving as activists in their local area and beyond, Dorothy Day had an inspiring vision for the Catholic Worker, and this vision is carried out so strongly today.
What would the world really be like if we treated each person like Christ? How about if we all tried our best to live simply? Would could this world look like? One of the gracious live-in workers shared with us that each person that walks into the Catholic Worker community is treated and viewed as the person of Christ, and to remember that as we come into contact with each other and especially those who live there.
Ah, just imagine.
Walk the Walk
As I look back on this weekend, I notice that I spent time this weekend doing exactly what I love! I got to be in community, serve, and take time to just be in the moment, enjoy and laugh. Taking that a step further, I realize that I get to serve others in assisting them to get involved in the community too! It’s like the life that keeps on giving. I can only hope that I will be able to inspire others to get involved in their communities and serve as advocates for social justice, as much as I hope to be a loving and just community leader myself.
And with that, I recognize that I am blessed, and for that, I am grateful.
But really, what a difference, huh? From volunteering at a black-tie affair to working in the dirt? Both for really good causes – just different? Volunteering opportunities absolutely vary, and I could probably write a lot more about these differences and the stirring of emotion between these two experiences, but for purposes of volunteerism, we’ll just leave it at that.
Opportunities are out there to get educated on issues, to serve locally, and to be a helping hand, and I encourage you to do that. Sometimes you just gotta do a Google search! And check in with your heart too. 🙂
Stay tuned. But until then, practice what you preach, get out there, and share the positive energy you have with others!