So here it goes, my very first blog. I am not exactly sure what that word stands for or what it means but I was told I could be a guest blogger and could write about whatever I chose. My name is Jim White and I am the Director of Public Relations/Community Affairs for the Volunteers of America Colorado Branch. I started on this journey with the Volunteers of America over 32 years ago as the head of the Meals on Wheels program. Although I don’t think anyone makes a conscience decision that they are going to stay with a job that long, at some point you wake up and confess to yourself, “this is probably what I am supposed to be doing.” People often ask me how have I been able to do this. How can you see so much pain and human suffering? How do you witness so much loneliness, mental health issues and children being raised under a roof where you already believe their opportunities are limited and still maintain a positive outlook and continue to do this day after day?
It is the answer to those questions that I would like to address in this blog. Because you see, for every sad sight I have had to digest I have been able to enjoy acts of caring and inspiration a hundred fold. For every person that I see struggling I know 50 that are willing to help. Let me explain.
Fall has always been my favorite time of year as we usually start to get a break from the heat, the aspen turn, football begins, there is the world series and the elk begin to bugle. All is right in the world. But for me not only do I get to enjoy these things but I get to be a part of some amazing projects that convince me that contrary to what you read in the newspaper, we are not all “circling the drain.” First comes “buses for baseball” where we take 50 limited income children to a Rockies game and they go down by the field and meet the players, get pictures/autographs. It is this nostalgic moment when Baseball and Kids meld into one and the game is exactly the way it supposed to be. We have a program called “Rake Up Colorado” where hundreds and I mean hundreds of volunteers grab rakes and trash bags and head out into the community and rake lawns of homebound seniors. To see an elderly lady in her front window tapping, waving to the volunteers with a tear running down her face is not something you ever forget. Then, of course, we head into Thanksgiving. A day when no one needs to go unfed, where thousands act out their gratitude by helping others. Individuals, families with children, grandparents with grandchildren all lend a hand so that no one needs to be alone or unfed. Where the whole nation pauses for a moment between turkey and the Detroit Lions and says thank you to whomever greater being they worship. “Thank you for all I have, thank you for being in this country and thank you for those I love.”
These are just a few projects that go on in the Fall, I could write a whole other blog about what goes on around Christmas here at Volunteers of America. I have met people that are so kind, I am humbled to be around them. Someone once said the “the human heart has an infinite capacity for kindness.” I guess that is the thought I would like to end my first blog with. You can either look for the things I have described, or you can be a part of it. I consider myself very lucky.
-Jim White, Director of Community Affairs, Volunteers of America Colorado Branch