Friday, December 6, 2013

Lending a helping hand

The Think Kit prompt for December 6 asks:

How do you want to get involved in your community this coming year? Is there an organization you're finally going to join? A neighbor who could use a hand? Or do you have a great idea that just needs a little momentum? Share how you'd like to get involved in your community during 2014.

I am reminded of how much more I used to volunteer. I did clerical work for the Indiana Blood Center, coordinated airport travel for the National Women's Music Festival, and served on the board for Women in the Arts, Inc., among other pursuits. I think I showed up for so many things for so many years that I got burned out. I'm ready to be of service again, though.

This prompt comes along at an interesting time. Just a couple days ago, I saw the following tweet from Indy Reads:

I thought I might get involved in helping adults learn to read. A few years ago, when I was writing an arts-and-entertainment blog for NUVO, I tutored with the ReadUP program. It was a great pursuit, but I think I'd like to help out adults instead of kids. In a way, adult literacy has been a lifelong interest. When I was a kid, one of the books I read (probably repeatedly) was about a man who couldn't read. He went to the grocery and selected a variety of foods, thinking about the delicious meal he was going to make when he got home. Because he couldn't read, however, he ended up with stuff like salt instead of sugar in his cookies. The dishwasher overflowed because he used bubble bath instead of dish detergent. I don't remember much else about the book, but I remember being extremely concerned the poor guy was trying so hard and continually struggling. Honestly, that panicky feeling sticks with me all these years later, even though the story must've had a happy ending.

My family has long had a running joke that I was going to grow up to be a social worker. I read books about abused kids and teenage runaways who became prostitutes, donated money to St. Jude Children's Hospital, and even asked my dad to make me some crutches. (He did.) I remember very well hobbling around the house on huge blocks of wood, and wrapping my hands and feet in ace bandages in order to... to... I honestly have no damn idea. Maybe I was simply trying to understand the lives of the people I was reading about. Whatever the case, the desire to help remains. Helping adults with their literacy skills seems like a good place to start.

1 comment:

Diana Ensign said...

I mentored a young mom, age 17, and she was filling out a form and asked me to read a word for her and define it. The word was "applicant." And I remember feeling discouraged about her future job options with a baby and not having a high school degree, through no fault of her own (her mom was an addict and so she seldom attended school because they moved around so much due to evictions). Anyone who works with literacy has my wholehearted support!(and I've heard good things about Indy Reads). Thanks for sharing.

And I really like the title of your blog: "Chi Rising" : )