Posts Tagged ‘family’

Yes, a baby.

Thursday, March 3rd, 2016

All the excitement is over on our family site. Go read it now!

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Volunteerism

Sunday, January 12th, 2014
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Free meal, clothes, and personal items for those in need at Seattle’s Outdoor Meal Site

I’ve never been one to volunteer my time. I was too busy living my own life and there weren’t any causes I was passionate enough about to motivate me otherwise. In a shift, I’ve volunteered seven times over the last five weeks for approximately 17 hours of service. All of my efforts were with one of two organizations, AOK Friends and Food Lifeline, both dedicated to getting meals to those who are homeless or simply do not have the means to keep food on the table. It’s been a hugely positive and transformative experience for me – one I kinda wish I didn’t wait until I was 35 to experience. In typical me-fashion, I’m including a bulleted list of my thoughts.

  • There is a cadre of people who selflessly donate their time on a very routine basis and without them, many volunteer opportunities would not exist. The caring and selflessness of these people are admirable.
  • My understanding of homelessness and the needy has changed. We’ve all seen the guy sleeping on the grates in the winter; there are many, many more faces in the group. Whether it be someone having to choose heat over eating or someone who lost their job and can’t get another one because they don’t have nice shoes and a tie, it’s not always obvious when people are struggling. We all know there are people in America that can’t make ends meet; it’s a very different thing to experience the breadth of it.
  • Like to hear the words “thank you” from people who mean it? Volunteer coordinators and those you’re helping are pretty convincing.
  • Stress about money, your job, and the people you care about disappears while you’re volunteering. It’s part reseting your perspective, part your brain not having the cycles to do anything else when you’re working with your hands. Good luck obsessing over Facebook or Candy Crush Saga when you’re packing and moving 40 pound boxes of canned food.
  • It’s free and you meet people. Also, it’s free. Did I mention it’s free? Moving to a city where you don’t know anyone and so many great things that cost money are within reach, it’s easy to drop entirely too much cash in your free time. Volunteering is a great way to get out of your house, make new friends, and do so without spending a dime.
  • It’s a great way to spend time with your significant other and/or family. Can’t agree on a movie? Don’t want to spend money on admission to that children’s park? Volunteer. Melissa and I have found it something we both enjoy doing (especially together) and I’m amazed at how many parents bring their kids. Some opportunities are better suited for groups, but I’ve been impressed with how engaged the youngins have been in the process. Apparently, sorting cans is just as entertaining as video games to a seven year old.

So, yeah, it’s a pretty rewarding experience. Melissa and I decided we’re going to try and volunteer together as least one weekend a month. I’m sure we’ll spread things around, especially since she’s been doing it with the Seattle Art Museum for awhile. No matter the cause or location, I think it’ll be something commonplace in our life for awhile.

If you’ve ever considered it, there’s no better time than now. I found all of my opportunities through an internet search or a Meetup group. Meetup is great if you want to volunteer with a similar group of people over and over again, possibly building new friendships and connections in the process. Whatever the means, you can be sure your efforts will make a difference.

Another Seven Weeks?

Saturday, June 29th, 2013

Hard to believe, isn’t it? The good news is I feel like I’m back on the writing train with a bunch of Yelp reviews. The bad news is I still haven’t managed to get back into posting here regularly.  Judging from the list below, it’s because I’ve been busy… but who hasn’t?

  • A week in Virginia
  • Melissa’s graduation
  • Catching up with a bunch of friends and coworkers back east
  • Visiting my mom in New Jersey
  • 24 hours in Portland
  • Sleeping on a concrete floor instead of couchsurfing there
  • Buying a Mini Clubman S in Portland and driving it back
  • Melissa moved home for good
  • Hosting a BBQ to welcome her home
  • Continued visits to CrossFit
  • Hurting my back at CrossFit
  • Stopping CrossFit for awhile
  • Going to a chiropractor for the first time in my life and loving it
  • A couple Yelp Elite events
  • Replacing the steering wheel on the 911 to something sportier and way retro
  • Getting serious about my 50 mile ride against cancer <– PLEASE DONATE

Wow, that’s a lot. Next Saturday, we fly to San Diego for a week with my family. Yay vacation!