While I had a rough start to my day yesterday, there was a bright spot other than my chance to develop relationships with a new set of students. I also had a new group of young adult volunteers come to the garden to help in the afternoon. These were all people who work for a company that had formed a partnership with the school to assist them with student learning needs. Until yesterday, most of the work was being done in the classrooms.
But, through the course of several emails with the company’s contact person and a referral from the principal, I was able to set up a chance to have nine young adults come and help me in the gardens at school. In short, I was demonstrating how to help or give back to the community. While I was paid for my time yesterday, I have long given back to the community by being an invested volunteer. This is what my adult volunteers did yesterday. I felt privileged to be part of this developing relationship.
One thing I have learned over the years is to appreciate the volunteers you have and make sure they are aware of your appreciation! I thanked them for coming, and thanked them again, and again, several times. I had a list of things I wanted them to do. And, they graciously did all the things on the list. Of course there is some concern when working in a garden that a wrong plant will be pulled out or wrong part cut off but I assured them that there were no worries with me about any of that! I just appreciated their time.
The biggest job I gave them was to pull the dead clematis vines off of a trellis in the gardens. I had previously been promised help with this task, but the help alluded me. So, noticing the new growth starting at the base of the plant, I asked that they get the dead vines off. Here it is before and after:
Part of the volunteer group worked in the garden cleaning up the last of winter debris at the far end and the other part of the group worked with me helping the young students learn to plant. All their presence and participation as volunteers was appreciated.
Before leaving, I met another “contact” person for this group, increasing my new network of contacts to three for the business that was partnering with the school and students. He mentioned summer opportunities for more work in the garden. Really?! This was an impossible dream come true! Long have I wanted a volunteer contingent to help at my previous school gardens. I will definitely be sending a sign up list for summer help!
It is this developing relationship and more opportunity to develop student relationships that will most probably keep me at this school for the next year. It is so important to learn to give back. Role modeling how to do that is essential to young people to know that giving of oneself can be an enjoyable experience and essential to one’s community.