Library Diva's Guide to Volunteering…

{February 11, 2011}   you want fries with that?

I’ve had a busy month with regular probation community service volunteers but I do work with some of the odd ones too,  I’ve already placed and have worked with 5 probation volunteers on House Arrest in the past 8 weeks.

House Arrest is a very interesting form of punishment. You have the ankle bracelet and the weekly meetings and sure, you don’t have to be in jail or incarcerated but you really don’t have the freedom that you think you might. You have to be very organized when planning your schedule. You have to detail where you will be at all times in the times you are allowed out, here it’s called  “scheduling out”. One of my gals, when she was fitted with her ankle bracelet in her living room, would somehow always get into violation when she’d go in to her bedroom. The alarms would go off and she’d be reprimanded, finally after a few weeks of extra drama, it was set as part of her perimeter. She really wasn’t doing anything wrong, they just didn’t do an initial walk through of her house.

If you’ve watched Disturbia, that pretty much holds true. You have to stay put or ‘”schedule out”  so the monitor can be adjusted. So, not only do these volunteers have to do their House Arrest, but they also have to do their community service.

I have several who “schedule out” for their work and their community service, I’m not kidding, you have to be really organized and on top of it. I keep a calendar and hold tight to a schedule, but imagine not being able to adjust to it in any way. No swinging by the Dunkin Donuts for a coffee and donut, no stop at the bank or post office, no running in to the grocery for bread and milk. If you don’t have it written down, one week prior, your alarm goes off and you are in violation.

So, the other day, I was feeling a Wendy’s Root beer Float on my way home from doing some errands. I placed the order in the drive through, pulled up to the window, paid and pulled ahead to the second window to pick up my treat. At that window was one of my house arrest volunteers, he had finished his service with me long ago and I just needed to sign off on his paperwork. I knew he had gotten a job somewhere and was expecting a baby and his mom was ill and he had lots going on but I remembered he still needed my signature verifying his hours. But because of my schedule, his house arrest and the strictness of his schedule, meeting up proved futile.

But there he was…handing me my root beer float.

“Hey…how are you? Everything ok?” I said to him, me in my truck and he in the Wendy’s drive through window.

“I’ve prayed for you to come through the window while I was working. When I heard root beer float, I thought it might be you, it sounded like you.” I was a tad relieved that he recognized my voice and not my need for root beer floats…I didn’t think I talked about them THAT much at work…it also struck me odd about the prayer thing, I imagined him on his knees, with his ankle bracelet on at the side of his bed, kneeling…”Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray she comes to the window to order fries, or nuggets or something….”

“Hang on…” He pulled out his wallet from his back pocket and removed a very folded and worn piece of paper. It was his probationary sign off sheet. “Can you sign this…?”

I slurped my float, laid the paper over my steering wheel and applied my John Hancock. I guess prayers do come true… 🙂


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