Lotsa people helping people

[UPDATE, 1/28:  Don't miss the new "Timely Information" post (where I do the packet lists) with the Gov's FY09 cuts and FY10 reductions]


I nearly achieved full harmonic convergence in my community service life today. 

This morning, I addressed a "Psychology of Aging" class at UMass, talking about my "meals on wheels" experience.  I had met the professor when I was on the Council on Aging, and after I spoke at the Senior Center's 40th anniversary celebration last fall, she asked if I might come to her class.  Doing meals is the most rewarding and delightful thing I have ever been involved with, so I was thrilled to do this.  Until I was looking for the classroom, and found an auditorium.  Somehow, I was expecting a very small class.  Mmmm, no.  But I walked up on stage, clipped on a lapel mic, (successfully stifling any Madonna World Tour karaoke impulses,) and talked for a while about one of my favorite subjects.   The purpose was both to share my experience and to get students interested in "service learning" opportunities through the University.  I didn't see anyone sleeping, so it couldn't have been too bad.  Although a couple of kids did leave, so that's probably worse. 

Tonight, I was a "Celebrity Waiter" for the Empty Bowls fundraiser for the Survival Center at The Pub.  My "celebrity," such as it is, (ha!) is from my SB position, and not from my history on the Survival Center Board, but it is the latter that made this so enjoyable for me.  The event was sold out - 500 tickets - and everything involved was donated:  the restaurant and its professional staff, the ceramic souvenir bowls, the soups from The Pub and other local restaurants, the "celebrity" labor and more.  There were two shifts for the labor, and I was on the second one.  Among those with whom I served:  my SB colleague Diana Stein, Tony Maroulis from the Chamber, UMass Chancellor Holub and his wife, Walter Carroll from WFCR, Peter Jessop of Integrity Builders and multiple Town committees, and I have probably forgotten a few.  (I think the Town Manager, the Police Chief, Ellen Story and Stan Rosenberg were among the first shift.)  This was a wonderful event in every way - attendees loved it, it raised a lot of money (in addition to ticket sales and a silent auction, some generous benefactor had agreed to match the total of tips collected,) and it brought together a wide swath of the community for a single dedicated purpose.  This was one of those very special Amherst moments, and I was so glad to be part of it.  Many thanks to the Jollys, to all who donated their soup and soup bowl talents, to all the waiters, to everyone else who helped, and especially to everyone who bought tickets.  And congratulations to the staff and Board of the Survival Center for a truly first-rate event.

Today was all about good stuff.  Tomorrow (Wednesday) we return to financial gloom, and the release of the Governor's FY10 budget and FY09 mid year cut details. 

And a snowstorm, for good measure. 


Mary Carey said:

Stephanie -- I bet you gave a great talk at UMass. I fondly remember the fun stories you told my class, especially the one about sitting near a rotary on Cape Cod when you were in high school so you could watch the cars go by. That would be a good scene in a movie! Next time, they should do three sittings at the Empty Bowls event. Slackers like me couldn't even get tickets this time, because they were sold out.

Thanks, Mary. I wonder why I started telling teenage car stories to your class. Rambling off-topic, no doubt...

I have spoken to a number of people who said they had wanted to go to the Empty Bowls event but were too late, so I think there is definite growth potential.



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