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Posts tagged ‘Volunteerism’

All That Good Food: Plates for the Homeless COUPLES

Three homeless couples sleep in an empty duplex in the east part of St. Cloud, Florida. Two couples are in their late fifties. The third couple is in their seventies.

 

Two of the men are military veterans. Their physical damages, from serving in the Afghanistan War, are not considered severe enough to qualify them for help from any of those TV-publicized organizations for veterans.

 

In November of 2017, the owner of the duplex learned about his “guests.” He had the utilities turned back on through April of 2018.

 

My mother heard about the couples, while helping her local Friends of the Library group host its annual luncheon for the library staff.

 

So, what did she do?

 

An hour or so after the event ended, she went into the library staff’s kitchen. And, she fixed plates of leftover food for those three couples.

 

For each person, she fixed a plate with the following: a 3-inch sub sandwich, fresh (finger) veggies, fresh fruit sections, a tomato slice and large spoonful of cut lettuce, a few Dorito chips, and, a large spoonful of popped corn. Plus a thick, creamy-frosting topped cupcake, dropped into a foam cup for safer traveling.

 

Then, she took the two plastic bags of plated food to the nearby trailer park resident that knew the couples’ location.

 

Did my mother do the right thing?

 

After the lunch, a large quantity of food remained. After she fixed those six plates, a lot of food still remained for the library staff to munch on later.

 

Hopefully, why what Mom did – and how she did it – will count for something.

 

Christmas season or not, people need to eat to keep up their strength. And to avert more serious health problems. People over age 55 tend to have less reserve. Thus, they need to eat regularly and healthily. Preferably more than once a day.

 

When word about the couples reached my mother’s ears, she knew what she needed to do.

 

Even if it meant leaving a ten-twenty dollar donation in the Friends of the Library’s “Jack Lynn Sorting Room” at the local library. (Which she’d do anyway.)

 

Even if it meant that she needed to inform the rest of her group about what she’d done. (Which she’s doing today.)

You see, until a year ago, all three men were able to work at least part time. One, in fact, as a residential painter. Now, only one of the men is able to stand or walk more than fifteen minutes at a time.

 

I’d like to say that Mom’s spontaneous, though unauthorized, act of kindness, on behalf of the group, was 100 percent okay. I don’t know for certain.

 

What my mother learned this morning, from that trailer park resident, makes me glad about things like the possible hidden opportunity that all that food provided.

 

Simply put: A need could be filled. Immediately.

 

HOW OFTEN DOES THAT HAPPEN WHERE YOU LIVE?

 

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Stepping out of one’s comfort and safety zone, for others, can be a sure step for society.

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Best regards. And thank you for clicking on “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

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Volunteering Your Painting and Decorating Skills, Part II: Options and Action

When it comes to volunteering our painting skills, we may overlook the needs that exist in our own community or neighborhood. Two large categories below:

1. Steer your skills where they can matter the most at this time.
Examples:
A. Local low budget nursing home unable to afford staff painter.
B. Local public school severely hurt by sharp budget cuts.
C. Local free medical clinic.
D. Local small church or church school.
E. Low income or fixed income neighborhood.
F. Family that’s been uprooted by severe medical bills, or death of main breadwinner.

2. Consider discreetly volunteering your skills for persons that you know.
Examples:
A. Relative or friend.
B. Elderly or disabled neighbor.
C. Your church pastor and family.
D. Members of church family.

Also, we may not know how to go about finding these needs in our own back yards. Two ideas:

1. To locate a local needy person or family, check with your pastor or one of a nearby smaller parish.
TIPS: Some churches only accept volunteer work through their own parishioners. Also, people have their pride. Offer help only to persons or families willing to accept to accept it.

2. To find a local low-income church, organization, facility, school or group, I suggest that you write a brief letter offering your painting skills labor-free. Include the following information:

A. summary of your experience
B. work you’re available to do, including days, no. of hours, morning or afternoon.
C. availability: 1 time, temporary for 3 months 1 year, etc.
D. statement about who buys and who pays for needed supplies – eg. paint, caulking tubes
fillers, sandpapers, paint thinner.
E. statement about when supplies would need to be purchased.
F. statement about your limits – eg. interior work, environmental conditions, hazardous conditions, tools
and equipment.

A FEW TIPS ABOUT DOING THE VOLUNTEER PAINTING JOB

1. Aim to leave behind a finished job as good as you do in your paid painting job.
2. Follow standard and exceptional policies, procedures, and techniques that you normally follow.
3. Be neat, thorough and friendly.
4. Respect all the health and safety rules that you would normally follow.
5. Be professional on your volunteer job, too.
6. Respect the rules that apply to your work for the person, family, organization, group, etc.
7. Maintain your pre-set volunteering parameters. Do not volunteer to do more than you have
offered or agreed upon, at least the first time that you help out that person or group. Even
one extra room, area or park bench can require more time than you have available.
8. Be honest.
9. Set and keep to a schedule. Cancel or change work dates and times only if necessary. And,
give prompt notice.

MY VIEW: I want to do my best. And, I want beneficiaries to want me to come back and help them again.

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When a painter volunteers, he or she adds special strokes of hope into the lives of others.
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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”
Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Volunteering Your Painting and Decorating Skills, Part I: Where You’re Coming From

Whatever your painting capabilities – and specialty areas, there’s a cause or program out there that can really use your help. From the local, loosely formed grassroots organization to the international non-profit corporation, the need for skilled craft persons is basically the same.

It’s up to you to find that niche – and then help to fulfill it.

So, how do you volunteer your painting skills and abilities toward a good cause? One that you’ll feel good about while you’re working on it, then after you leave.

TIPS FOR GETTING STARTED ON YOUR VOLUNTEER PAINTER’S PATH

1. Your interests. What grabs your attention – and won’t let go?

Examples: Neighborhood park; local school/ learning center; pets, animal shelters, zoos; people: elderly staying in own home/ ALF, or skilled nursing facility, children with chronic diseases, disabled adults, homeless families; churches, church fundraising arms, youth programs; historic preservation properties, museums, art/theatre/culture centers; community/ civic centers.

2. Your obligations. How often can you help out?

Examples: 1 hour a week, two hours a month, one-half day (4 hours) a month 1 week (5-7 days).

3. Your schedule. When can you help out?

Examples: Mondays only; mornings (8am-12 noon); week-ends (Saturday and/or Sunday); vacation/ break/ sabbatical.

4. Location. Where can you help out?

Examples: A. Locally/ close to home (within 10 miles); B. In this half of county; C. Anywhere in county; D. Within my state/ region of state; E. Region of country: Northwest, West, Southwest; Plains, North Midwest; Northeast, East, Southeast; South; F. Anywhere in U.S. mainland; G. Foreign country – eg. Sudan.

5. Your availability. Are you available to live on-site – say for 7 to 10 days?

Examples: New school construction, third-world country; hurricane disaster community in U.S.; remodeling of free medical clinic on Indian reservation; restoration of historic estate; rebuilding of burned out orphanage in Appalachians.

6. Your accommodations. What, if any, special accommodations do you need in order to be able to help?

Examples: Good HVAC system (heat, ventilation, A/C); building access ramp and entry/exit, handicapped parking; assistance with lifting, carrying, moving anything over 10 pounds; limited walking; special diet. (For extended stay, on-site projects); sanitary sleeping/ restroom facilities.

7. Your tasks. What specific painting tasks do you want to help with, or handle?

Examples: New construction only; Brush/roll only; spraying; surface/ area prepping; powerwashing; mixing/ matching paints; wallpapering; cleaning up graffiti; cleaning high-sanitation area; decorative finishing.

8. Your environment. Which works better for you: interior or exterior work?

9. People. Do you want to work on a small crew? Or, with a large group of volunteers?

10. Your role. Are you interested in supervising others? How many persons? Which skill level(s): skilled, semi-skilled, unskilled?

11. Entity. Do you want to help with the same group or organization each time? Or, do you like the idea of working on projects for different groups/ organizations? OR, do you want to work on special projects only?

12. Your Transportation. How will you get to-and-from each volunteer site?

Examples: Your car/truck/SUV/van; public transportation – commuter bus or train; plane; boat.

13. Your finances. Can you afford to volunteer any time, without pay? Will you need financial help to pay for getting to-and-from each volunteer site?

Examples: For gas, oil, parking fees, road tolls; tickets, fares, fees.

14. Your personality. What type of volunteer opportunity, as outlined above, really matches who you are? Under less than perfect circumstances? When very little is in your control? When the other people involved are very different from you?

15. Your health. What health issues, if any, do you need to consider when choosing a volunteer outlet for your skills and interests? Which volunteer opportunity(ies) will be very doable for you? Which needs will you be able to fulfill while helping to provide a healthy and safe atmosphere for yourself and others?

16. Your commitment. How serious are you about volunteering your painting capabilities? Are you willing to switch around your current priorities to make room for this new one? Or even let something else go?

17. Your reasons. Why do you want to volunteer at this time in your life? Examples: Have more time; see need for your kind of help; recent experience raised your awareness level; social consciousness want to pay back kindness you/your family received; realize what you’ve been missing by not volunteering.

18. Your ultimate goal. What do you need to get out of the experience? What do you want to leave behind? What, if any, personal motive do you have?

Here, I’d like to add one more thing:

19. Your “what ifs”. What if you can’t find a fit? What if the volunteer opportunity you chose turns out to be less than anticipated? Or more than you can, or want to, handle? Or very different than what you signed on for?

THE CHOICE IS ALWAYS YOURS

Volunteer where you feel you’re needed.
Volunteer where you believe you’ll be appreciated.
Volunteer where you see that you can make a positive difference.
Volunteer where you know that, later, you’ll still know that it was the right thing to do!

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A special “thank you” to all painters that have stepped up to the plate and volunteered.
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Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. “Painting with Bob.” All rights reserved.

St. Cloud Friends of the Library Pre-Renovation “Bag Sale” a Huge Success!

St. Cloud Friends of the Library (SCFOL) opened its “Bag Sale” doors to a record crowd on July 8. Over 130 people waited in line before 9 am to pay their “$2.00 per bag.” Then, they rushed inside to stuff those bags with books, e-books, DVDs, music CDs, videos, games and puzzles, etc)

 

When I glanced in that direction about 9:30, the “Robert Fisk Room” was crammed with bodies. A line of over 50 people still waiting patiently and politely for a few shoppers to come out, so that a few of those in line could go in. (Fire department room capacity: 65.)

 

The July sale was not one of the organization’s regular ones, held twice a year.

 

What made it unique was its non-negotiable goal: to completely empty their “Jack Lynn Sorting Room” of all donations, before August 1. Actually, July 27.

 

Ah! August 1. That’s the date, tentatively set by the Osceola County Manager’s Office, for major repairs and renovations to begin at Veteran’s Memorial Library in St. Cloud.  Meaning that between July 27 and August 1, they will be removing all contents from the building.

 

Next, the renovation construction company will erect 8-12 foot security fence around the property. CAUTION and WARNING signs will announce it as a “Construction Zone” and “Hard Hat Area.” And, the long, arduous process of gutting everything to the walls, floors and ceilings in order to fix the worn out, “sick building” begins.

 

As of SCFOL’s sale date, the county government had released little information about this major reconstruction project. Estimated to take four-to-five months.

 

. No full-color renderings, layouts, floor plans, and schematics to give patrons and taxpayers a good idea what their renovated public library will look like.

. No posted list of the names of who will be doing the work – eg. construction management company or general contractor.

. No posted list of names of who, on the government and taxpayer side, will be in charge.

. No posting of the renovation’s approved cost.

 

Still, members of the SCFOL achieved their goal par excellence. They sold out! They made over an inestimable number of readers and “reading households” very happy.

 

And, they raised over $2,200 to support and co-sponsor local library and related community programs and events in the future.

 

Now, that’s quite an accomplishment for the group. Especially considering that most of the core members are over age 60. And, a bit worn around the edges and along the surfaces, as the used books, DVDs and other treasures they sell!

 

Next SCFOL Book Sale: Spring of 2017. Usually a 3-day sale – Thursday, Friday, Saturday.

Next Osceola FOL book sale: August 26, 2016, BVL branch.

 

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Reading is a vital activity for daily independent living – and sustainable survival.

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

 

Copyright 2016. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

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