I spent last night volunteering at a women’s shelter in New York. I think the warm ooey-gooey feelings from the night carried over into today, because I was happy all day.
Coming from someone who has spent a good deal of their professional career working in the non-profit world I’m embarrassed to say that I don’t volunteer as often as I’d like to. Strangely, I always have a hard time finding volunteer opportunities that I mesh with. I meshed with this one. In fact, I really hope I’m invited back. I have a friend who volunteers regularly with this organization and asked if I’d like to take along. The shelter is a pretty amazing, it’s a standard New York City apartment building, like any other, but this one is dedicated to helping homeless single parent families get off the streets and into a supportive community. While there the residents receive housing; job training; health benefits; education on nutrition, budgeting, and literacy if needed. They also have counseling and community activities at their disposal, activities like the reading night we went to last night.
Every Wednesday night volunteers come and read with the kids of the community. It was such a truly inspiring night: the kids were so excited to read, the parents really prioritized education, and the volunteers were all just happy to be a part of it. If they’ll have me back, I really hope to make this a regular part of my schedule.
So, I woke up with a hop in my step. I spent the morning doing chores, running errands, and moving furniture (the new roomie moves in this weekend). Then, this afternoon I met up with my aunt for a deep tissue massage (she didn’t give it to me, but she paid someone else to J) some wine, and a Panini.
And…if the day couldn’t be any more perfect I ended it by having tea with one of my favorite friends, a friend I don’t see nearly enough but never ceases to brighten my day when I do see her.
There’s something about these sorts of days that make me all sappy and philosophical. I can’t help but think that people are awesome. It’s easy to forget that in a world of sensationalist media (of which I admit to being a part). Sure, there are a few bad apples out there, but as a whole people are good. And more often than not, they’re just looking to connect with other people. There’s a reason we evolved from our cave dwelling days: we’re certainly not the toughest animal on the block, and we can only give the opposable thumb so much credit. I think it all has to do with our innate ability to create a posse with whomever we got lying around. People like people, even if you don’t really like people chances are you kinda do. There’s something so amazing about the way we live: having a community, a family, and friends to fill your life (and sometimes, when you’re lucky, your day). Even in a digital age, we’re all just looking to connect, create a new sort of community. I’m going to keep this feeling in mind next time I’m sitting on the couch feeling lonely.
Of course, now that I’ll have a roommate perhaps I won’t have too many of those couch moments. Roommate=instacommunity. Okay, I’ll stop now. This is too Pollyanna, even for me.
Do you volunteer? How do you participate in your community?
Pumpkin protein pancakes with walnuts and sugar-free syrup
Scrambled egg whites
Smoothie made with sugar-free chocolate almond milk, banana, peanut butter, chocolate protein powder
I stopped for an early dinner with my aunt. A grilled zucchini panini with mozzarella and parsley
Mixed greens with vinaigrette
Yummy wine (probably should not be drinking that after a teeth whitening)
Exercise: Rest Day