Library Diva's Guide to Volunteering…

I try so very hard not to be negative but I’ve had a heck of a month so far. I took some time off on Friday to do a break out session on volunteer management and so I was making up some hours on Saturday. I had already set several appointments so I was getting people in and out, working out community service plans and assignments and had planned on staying the afternoon. I had a very busy personal morning running around town so for Saturday afternoon, rain was in the forecast so I thought it was just a good time to buckle down and finish up some loose ends.

My first few meetings were pretty cut and dry. National Honor Society students, all pretty simple. I like working with the students and it seems that my reputation is preceding me among this age group. Kids will talk, text and tweet and when I have one appointment set, they always seem to bring friends…

My next meeting was a little more aggravating. Why does it seem that professional and advanced degreed individuals on probation hold an elite attitude when it comes to their community service? I was presented with several resumes on Saturday. Listen, you got the same offense from driving home from a Champagne tasting just as you would have if you were playing darts and beer pong. I don’t need to know your degrees and the details of your professional busy life. What I will tell you is that I’m a professional as well and as long as you may have been practicing dentistry, I too have been honing my skills in this job. Geesh!

I was beginning to sink a little lower in my chair after this barrage of volunteer. I knew the work day would be a little challenging considering my previous screenings with all these individuals by phone so I set them up in an order I could handle…quick and high energy-high school students, smart but know it all professionals, and needy and I want…workfare.

Not only did I hand out the workfare assignments but I was also asked to write an appeal letter to help someone get back in to college (which I denied for the reason that if you can’t write a letter explaining why you dropped out in the first place by yourself, why would they pay for you to go again???) and help someone apply for disability benefits. Ok. I felt that I didn’t help the first person with their letter, so I better explore the disability benefit help. Going for the win/win, I pulled up the government page for the application process.

“oh…I know how to do it, I just need someone to do it for me. I don’t have time to do it…”

“well…is it because you are working? It looks like there are several ways to apply, phone, letter and online…”

“I know..I just don’t want to do it…”

“You want to apply for disability benefits, but you don’t want to apply?”

“well…I’m busy.”

“If you don’t mind me asking, exactly what is your disability?”

“I have a callous on my toe.”

“I’m sorry, did you just say that your disability is that you have a callous on your toe?”

“yes, when I leave here, I’m going to soak it and work on it.”

“I see…”

I can’t believe this actually was happening and unfolding before my eyes and ears….I had just had my blood pressure screening done not 4 hours before this meeting and I was borderline going to be admitted to the hospital for being a stroke risk. I felt my pressure rising, my face becoming red, a pulsing in my head…and if I had a mirror, I’m sure my eyes were bulging out with a cartoon thermometer hovering above me throbbing….

Now, I’m not that cold and insensitive…I understand serious foot problems, but she showed it to me…and it was a very normal…callous. For Real? Get a ped egg!

I paper clipped all of her handouts, her work assignments, my form letters, and a copy of the email I had sent the trustees explaining her assignment and work fare and handed it across the desk with my card…I also jotted down the number of the local  Work One agency and told her that they may be a better option to assist her with her application process.

“oh..I’ve already talked with them…and they did the same thing you just did, I just want someone to fill it all out for me…you know.. do it for me… I work 4 hours a day 3 times a week, and have teenagers at home, plus my toe…I’m busy…”

My  Jimmeny Cricket inside me was yelling “danger…danger…”. I furrowed my brow, put on my best I-totally-understand-face and nodded and smiled.

“yes…I’m sure it’s very hard for you….”

As she got up to leave…I got up to leave as well…forget it…I give up…but not before I slipped a baby aspirin under my tongue….


{May 21, 2011}   Volunteers are EVERYWHERE!

I supported 4 agencies that were all inspired and staffed by volunteers this morning in less than 2.5 hours. Whew!

First I went to a free stroke screen at our local hospital. I had thought that it was just an extra work day for the nurses and staff, but they were giving their time and promoting services. Very cool. (For those concerned about me. I’m high risk and I left in tears. Luckily, I was not immediately admitted, but I was told to contact my physician no later than Monday….Yowza….)

Feeling heart broken..over my health… I walked out and could see from the exit across from the parking lot of the hospital that they had set up a local farmers market with about 40 vendors across the lot…and me being me, I marched right over and set out to chat with several new friends and found out that through grass roots efforts and volunteers, vendors were set up and everything under the sun was presented. I went looking for garlic…since it’s good for the heart ….and found out mid June is the best time for fresh garlic…I’ll for sure be back for that. I saw one vendor selling herbs and next to it was a sign that said Master Gardner Sale at the Fair grounds…

I loaded my lettuce and green onions into the truck and then headed over to the Fairgrounds in town. You know how much I love the local Master Gardeners. They’ve worked with me at the library on our grounds so I just had to go support them…I purchased several varieties of Iris and was told instruction on how to replant them (DO NOT BURY THE RHIZOME!….ok…can you tell me that without the pitchfork and stern tone???)

Ready to call it a morning, I decided to go through town and saw that a road was blocked off. I was being curious and to my surprise saw people on beds racing down the street. It was a bed race to support our Boys and Girls Club. I had to cheer them on, so grabbed a decaf (my first step in heart health..) and cheered and chatted with my friends from B&G and the Parks Department.

Volunteers are everywhere! The more you support them in your community the more creative and fun things there will be in your community! Get out there and make it happen 🙂

et cetera
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