When my transition to the non-working world began, I didn’t know much about what I was going to do. But I did know that I wanted to spend at least part of my time volunteering. I got a tip from a good friend about the YWCA Family Center and I decided to check it out.
Potential volunteers are asked to attend an orientation. At orientation, we learned about the center, its history, its former incarnations and the work that was done to make it the groundbreaking facility it is today.
Yes, I said groundbreaking. The design of the center has been touted by homelessness experts. So much so, that, when Bill Gates decided to build a homeless shelter in Seattle, he sent a team to Columbus to learn more about the Family Center.
There are many amazing things about the Family Center. The garden, the playground, the children’s programs. But my favorite part was the library. With no televisions, resident families utilize the library for entertainment during their down time. The library is stocked with adult and children’s books. And the children, when they leave the Center, may take books from the library with them. When the orientation leader described what it was like to watch children walk out of the center with piles of books in their hands, there was a smile and a tear on my face.
I’m not sure why, other than the fact that I’m a bookworm, but that picture touched me so deeply. Here are these children who have so very little and no place to call home. Books can be such an amazing escape from the realities of life, especially at its most difficult times. You can be a pirate, a wizard, a detective. When you’re ensconced in a book, the name brand clothes you do or don’t have, the worries of your parents, the uncomfortable silence when someone asks you about your home, none of those things exist. What an amazing gift to a give a child, especially one who has so little.
Wanting to do something to help, I contacted my son’s school which has agreed to help collect children’s books that we will deliver to the center in the New Year.
I would love it if my readers and friends would join us! If you would like to donate books to the Center, it’s my understanding that they accept donations at any time. Or, shoot me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we can arrange a pick-up or drop-off between New Years and January 10.
Happy Holidays and happy reading!