For a week after Zaida Meraz, my neighbor and Resource Teacher for the Gifted and Talented, invited me to talk about One Can A Week to her students at the Los Amigos Elementary School, I had been thinking about all kinds of approaches to take. Since I knew the summer school program centered around Service, Learning and Kindness, I thought I should cover all three topics beginning with my decision at their age to always endeavor to take the high road.
Forty some students filed into the cafeteria, sat on the floor in 4 neat rows and quietly smiled up at me. I saw—especially those directly in front of me—were quite young. Each had his or her baby teeth…all of them.
I stuck to my planned presentation even though this cute boy right in front kept on interrupting me. His questions began with 3 or 4 intelligible words and then trailed off into a mumble. I acknowledged him, smiled and said yes even though I had no idea what I had just agreed to. After the 5th or 6th interruption, I decided to amuse myself and as I panned across the faces of the students before me I asked, “Does anyone have any duct tape?”
A reply came back immediately from a number of the students almost in unison, “What’s duct tape?” After a short, awkward pause I showed them the photo of my two Westies, Adam and Molly. They perked up and I seized the moment to ask for questions—which thankfully there were none—and ended with a “thank you for helping me with One Can A Week.”
Sunday I saw Zaida and she said her kids were really into One Can A Week. So far they have donated over 68 cans and will present their total donation to me in two weeks. Actions do speak louder than words and it appears that these kids are teaching us a thing or two about Service, Learning and Kindness.
Easy, Breezy Sunday
Most Sundays there is very little, late morning traffic in the Miles neighborhood. This Sunday was no different. Kristen, my next door neighbor, was out watering her plants and asked if I had a power drill because she wanted to poke some holes in a plastic container and turn it into a compost bin. I did and said I would drop it off after my rounds which I did not do because I forgot but eventually handed the drill over to Andrew when he stopped by after dinner.
Mr. Aguilar was not ready again this Sunday. He always says he thought about putting the cans out earlier but he did not “follow through.” His wife who was sitting in a very comfortable chair on the far side of the living room replied, “Follow through…that’s the important part.” We all laughed.
Every Sunday Ed Altamirano and I stand just outside his front door in the sunshine and visit while Kailua, his Min Pin yaps now and again inside the house. Some how we got on the subject of socializing kids and Ed told me how he took his daughter to a Nursery every weekday because both he and his wife worked. “It always smelled of Clorox, which is a good thing,” Ed recalled, “and my daughter got to be around a lot of interesting kids.”
“And with that smell,” I added, “when they got into high school probably a lot of them where drawn to the swimming program,” Another good laugh.
After lunch I was invited in to see Emily’s new baby boy who was awake and rocking away in his swing. He is some happy and handsome baby and I get to watch him grow up.
At 2 pm I was finished and packed the food away for the night. By 10 am on Monday it would be in the hands of the Community Food Bank. What a great way to perform some community service, get your neighbors involved and feed lots of very needy families. I look at the news every night and it makes me even more grateful that I have created my own world that is quite removed from those folks who have not figures out yet that helping your brothers and your sisters is just delightful… and far more precious than gold.
We collected 164 lbs. of food that includes 22 lbs of food from the Axis Food Mart in addition to 3.5 lbs. of non-food and $9 in cash.
See you Sunday,