From Community Service: Just Do "One Good Thing"
Linda Hurley and I serve on the Educational Council for Cradles to Crayons, (cradlestocrayons.org) a local nonprofit that meets the clothing, baby and school supply needs for thousands of children in the Boston area. We often hear when a crisis need arises for youngsters, and one has just become clear to us. Cradles to Crayons (C2C) believes they will hear from social workers that about 17,000 children this winter will request coats from them in order to keep warm. That is a staggering number. Many organizations will attempt to help find these coats and get them to the warehouse, but it will take time and effort and some children, unfortunately, may not receive what they need—surely not before the snow flies.
At Nobles, we have to take notes every day in Assembly just to keep track of the generous, creative attempts to be of service that clubs and organizations are taking on. Athletic teams and the Graduates Council are marshaling their constituents for a variety of service efforts every season. Community Service Board students at both the Middle and Upper Schools strive every week to discuss issues and work on projects to both learn about the world and give of time and effort to make it a better place.
Doesn't "compassion fatigue" start to simply wear us out? Sure. We hear from kids that the endless discussion of one issue or another, both local and global, can make them feel either helpless (or let's face it) simply tired. In a meeting recently I heard Ben Snyder respond "Yes, unless its YOUR shoe drive, or YOUR bake sale." And that is the point I want to make here. The idea is to do what you can, when you can. A great educational opportunity about how to be a leader for the public good will come along in class, in Assembly, on the playing fields, and in an X-block discussion many times each week. NOBODY can do it all. The most richly resourced among us are given the same 24 hours a day as the rest of us, and we all have to make choices that feed our families, or finish our homework, or keep us healthy.
However, we all can do something. And we should choose that something based on what is clear to us at the moment and feels doable. When we get involved with a few good service initiatives and make them our own, we accomplish a great deal for the common good and feel wonderful about our participation. "OUR bake sale" for a cause we believe in becomes the learning curve about how to create and market our wares, follow through on our commitments, do the paperwork involved, and get the proceeds to the right place in a timely way. "OUR bake sale" makes us feel capable to create change in a world that needs our contribution.
The football team, (captains, coaches and players) are sponsoring a coat drive from Nov. 12-23. They hope to alleviate the suffering of kids without a way to keep warm. This may not be your child's initiative or passion. But it is only one of many cold weather service projects that your family could contribute to. You will hear of more as the frost collects and the wind whistles this winter. What you can do is help your son or daughter choose one that fits for them, and support the efforts to find that coat, buy that small gift for a child, deliver that turkey, make that pie or package that meal at the Milton Games. We don't have to feel so tired if all of us do just that "one good thing."
Sandi MacQuinn and Linda Hurley