I’ve volunteered before, but not as someone who chaperoned a group of kid volunteers. Sort of meta-volunteering, for lack of a better term.
The kids had Valentine’s Day cards and gifts to present. At first, the children were shy around each other; tentative, not sure what to say or do. Then the kids from the shelter started opening their gifts.
They were books. Novels.
And the walls disintegrated before my eyes.
Voices blossomed, excited chatter about Spiderman, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Lemony Snicket filled the space. Suddenly, the kids were all speaking the same language. Behind it was a beautiful bonding over imagination, wonder, inspiration, humor and hope that transcended socioeconomic status.
People say that math is the universal language; today, the universal language was love of a good story that allows a child to experience another place, other people, and usually–at least with most children’s books–ultimately solvable problems.
Each day of 2014, I’m
forcing encouraging myself to have at least one new experience (and chronicling it to keep it real). If you’re interested in why–though I can’t for the life of me imagine anyone would be that bored–check out the “about” page.