I’m sorry. Not just for the title of this project which was…mmm…lacking… but because it’s taken me so long to summarize my volunteering experience. I kind of got back handed by life about a week after I cut my hair and I’m still trying to stand up. The good news is I have almost found my footing and expect to be my old snarky self shortly. At this point I should say something profound about the 50 volunteer projects and how they changed my life. Of course they did - anything I type at this point about that would be a boring cliché. Instead, here are some of my favorite memories from my little adventures…
Sliding down embankments in Malibu with thigh high water waiters on – trying to get to remote creeks so I could measure bacteria levels in the streams.
The first time I read to a classroom of 1st graders I lost my place in "The Velveteen Rabbit" and ended up improv-ing pages until I found my place.
Getting into a fight with another volunteer during a school cleanup because they were dumping bleach into the LA sewers.
Showing up at exactly the right time to read my uncle's name at a 3-day continuous reading of the deceased listed on the Vietnam Memorial Wall.
Hurting my foot during Walk 4 Water and still having to do a 5k everyday for ten more days.
Walking into my bathroom in the morning and having a tiny herd of kittens stampede me and then crawl into my lap and fall asleep.
The homeless child in the lilac cap at the Christmas gift give-away.
Spotting birds with Audubon that I literally would have trampled a week earlier.
The people of Lake Arrowhead Rep.
Questioning my vegetarianism during the third hour of scooping sh$% at Animal Acres Farm Sanctuary.
Speaking at a city meeting in support of Marine Protection Areas and almost passing out.
How badly I wanted a loving family like the ones I met while preparing the Thanksgiving meal at the KidSave holiday party.
The simplicity of giving to KIVA.org.
Writing letters to soldiers for Operation Gratitude, telling them a few stories, and in return remembering Pa whisper his stories to me during his last weeks.
Missing Pa the whole time, every minute, and never being able to forget that I have huge shoes to fill.
[Picture: Pa tells me a story about three high strung bears and a bad blonde named Goldie Locks.]