Volunteering is a gift, mostly to the volunteer – Building Communities One Spark at a Time – My Afternoon with Tri County Literacy CHAP program – Cornwall Ontario – April 23, 2010

Volunteering is a gift, mostly to the volunteer – Building Communities One Spark at a Time – My Afternoon with Tri County Literacy CHAP program – Cornwall Ontario – April 23, 2010

Cornwall ON – A few hours of your time per month can make a difference in the lives of a lot of people.  Sound familiar?   A cliché yes, but most are true.   We live in crazy days that leave almost no time for ourselves never mind to give to others.

Yesterday I was pooped.   It’s hard running a small business as I’m sure many of you that read this know.   You’re always sacrificing something to meet all the demands of life and business.    I’d agreed to offer some of my time as Literacy to me opens the world to people as no other tool can and I think Tri-County Literacy does some amazing work in our community; so when approached by Don Smith I was happy to participate in the CHAP ( Community Homework After School Program).

I was going to cancel yesterday, but remembered some other clichés.  I didn’t need an excuse to re-schedule or cancel; but I forced myself to adjust the sched and made my appearance.

Giving in life gets you the most, and just spending a few hours away from politicians and the troubles of the world; spending some time giving back; had me leaving with a smile.   It was fun too, and the looks of excitement on some of the children’s faces as they worked hard at expressing themselves was truly remarkable.

I think we, and I include “me” in that we, can sometimes forget what it was like to learn some things for the first time and the excitement at trying to express an idea bubbling away in our brains.

I think yesterday I got to receive the gift that volunteering and helping someone else can truly give.

For more information about Tri-County Literacy visit their website.  I know they’re always looking for volunteers as are many other super groups in our community.

Area Artist Michael Cartwright also dropped by to visit the kids at CHAP recently.

Wednesday, May 26 CHAP will move to the Cornwall Public Library site as the children from various CHAP sites come together for the annual Brag Bucks Auction.  One of the attendance and behaviour incentives involves participants accumulating play money over the course of the year and using it to bid on items donated by area businesses and individuals.  Every youth should come away with an item or two and hopefully learn a thing or two about the value of money.  The Trillium sites wrap up that week, but the Agape CHAP runs one week later.

Volunteer, it pays!

(photos courtesy of Don Smith)

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I visit like yours is a highlight that sticks in kids’ memories. And the little writing and reading exercise they performed for you, not only triggers creativity, but is just the kind of simple act that adds to confidence and self-esteem.

I might add that visits by members of the community such as yourself, add to the overall credibility and substance of programs such as we have for afterschool homework help and, to your credit, set a worthy example for others.