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Saturday, March 2, 2013

Moving moments and volunteerism

Everything happens for a reason. I will never say I understand everything that happens because I don't. I get upset when I feel wronged. I become sad when I can't do anything to change that circumstance. I feel satisfied when I can rely on my faith to take control. I believe everything is everything. I realize that no matter how I'm treated, good or bad, or what difficulties life throws at me, there is a reason why I am here. There is a reason I continue to help people when I'm hurt or upset. Or why I befriend some folks who aren't always nice to me, or treat me as an after thought, or are just plain selfish! There is a reason. I don't know the answer yet, but will keep on keeping on and walk this journey God planned for me. That's all I'm left to do. 

Now that I got that off my chest, here are some updates:

End of February: I am no longer with the NYC Civic Corps. I am on the job hunt and have some prospects. However, I'm still a volunteer for NY Cares and the Red Cross. At the Red Cross on Thursday (2/28/13), I had the opportunity to shadow a caseworker. I'm learning a lot and enjoying the process. It's not easy by no means, but it's a great eye opener to learn what people are going through. It tests one's strength. I've already had moments where I wanted to cry. The stories are moving. I wish I could do more to help the clients. I guess I'm always going to feel that way. The professional aspect of it is challenging too in learning how things are done. I've been taking the Red Cross free online webinars to advance my skills in client casework. I created a notebook/binder of all my notes, handouts and training materials. My manager and caseworkers were happy and surprised. When I'm serious about something, there are no limits in pursuing my goals. In the hallway on the cushioned bench,  I saw a bowl of candy with a note of thanks to all the volunteers. That made my day. Appreciation truly goes a long way. Although I've only been with the Red Cross since early January, I feel apart of the team. I'm happy to work as a client caseworker and manage the intake process, but I'm more proud just to be a volunteer.

March 1: Returning to the Action Center in Rockaway

In an effort to say thank you to the great people at the Action Center who helped me when I fell in January, I volunteered there on Friday. I, along with other NY Cares volunteers, prepared and packaged meals to distribute to residents. We took turns giving out hot meals, bags and boxes of canned and dried food, and water to incoming residents to the center. I was in charge of water. Majority of the people who came wanted water. I learned from the team leader that the water quality is not good in the area. I also learned that  distribution efforts may stop due to a lack of food donations. Already there's been a decrease in volunteers, and the center isn't open 7 days a week as before. That was disheartening to hear.

As I gave out the bags of bottled water, many smiled saying thank you. What made me feel sad was majority of the people coming in where elders and children. A little boy, could of been 4 years old, wanted to help his mommy by attempting to take the bag of water. Instead I gave him a box of macaroni. He gave me a high five and smiled holding the box. Another resident was an elderly woman who struggled to hold the bag of water. I put it in her cart for her. She thanked me and said, "You're alright." Hurricane Sandy has impacted so many communities like this one in Rockaway, but sadly these residents have been struggling before Sandy hit. It's going to take time for people to fully recover from this event. Personally, I want to continue helping. We cannot forget our neighbors.


I feel accomplished. I look forward to doing more and helping more people.

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