Sometimes you just have to run an idea up the flagpole and see if anyone salutes.
Last Wednesday was my school's fourth annual Community Service Day, in which all our middle school students go out, in groups, to various destinations I have lined up. The projects range from connecting with seniors who are battling Alzheimers disease or assisted living limitations, to outdoor gardening, digging, weeding, and habitat restoration projects, to preparing and serving meals for residents battling HIV/AIDS or poverty.
My group of 7th grade boys went to Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco and had an experience that was both startling and rewarding - preparing and serving meals to a population that makes AN seem normal, taking great pride and joy in looking each person in the eye and making sure they knew that at least one person would treat them with respect and dignity that day. On the BART ride home, one of my "toughest" boys, the kid who is least likely to show excitement about anything at school, looked at me and said, out of the blue, "That was cool. I would go there again." "Would you go on a weekend, if I got a group together sometime?" Without hesitating, "Yes."
I live for this.
Community Service is a passion of mine because I believe so strongly in the importance of a community that cares about, and cares for, one another. It's one of the reasons I am so fond of AN - because it's not just a baseball site, it's truly a community. Wouldn't it be nice if there were more opportunities for this AN community (or at least the locals, in this case) to see each other, face to face, maybe in a setting where we could meet for the purpose of helping those so urgently in need of our help, right now? Why not? Why not an AN Community Service group taking on a project every couple of months, so if you can't do this one maybe we catch you for the next one?
Up to 20 people can sign up for any meal shift at Glide Memorial Church - how hard would it be to sign up for a shift, announce the date and time on AN, and confirm up to the first 20 volunteers to go "represent"? Projects to clean up the shoreline do not even require any advance registration or confirmed head count - how hard would it be to announce the event's date and time on the site and say, "Look for the AN flag and we'll meet up at 10:00am"? It's not hard, it's just important.
If there's enough interest to turn this idea into a reality, and maybe meet for a project every other month, I'm happy to lead it by using my existing contacts to set up the first few events. I'm sure someone can come up with a better name than "Cindi's Helpers" and I'm sure those suggestions will be offered in this thread, along with feedback about whether such an idea can become a reality.
"If you don't think you can change the world, try adjusting your view of what 'the world' is."