No, I haven’t found a new career, sadly. (One of the goals on my overzealous sabbatical year To-Do List.) What I did find last fall is a job. A satisfying job. A very part time, low paying job, but it’s just right for this particular time in our family life.
I work for Little Helping Hands. LHH is a non-profit (thus “low paying”) that works with other local non-profits to get kids and families volunteering. Basically, LHH curates volunteer activities that children are physically able to do and can be accomplished (at least in part) in about an hour. During that time the kids learn about the organization, talk about how their effort helps others, and work with their own family towards a goal.
Our family started volunteering with Little Helping Hands years ago, and Violet and Graham love it. Some of the activities we’ve participated in are park clean-up, animal shelter blanket assembly, envelope stuffing, graffiti clean-up, gift donation wrapping and more. It’s really the perfect length of time, especially for the… um… easily distracted child.
My job is to set up, break down, organize the volunteers, explain our activity and the particular non-profit we’re working with, coordinate the timing, supplies, paperwork, and, most importantly, chat with the families. So far I’ve helped out Dell Childrens’ Hospital, Austin Animal Shelter, the city’s storm drain marking program, community gardens, the Food Bank, Lemonade Day, Safe Place, parks, Meals on Wheels and more. Having a work environment where you are surrounded by families who are a little giddy about doing good for their community together, well, I can’t wait to go to work.
I love saying “I’m going to work.” It surprises me how much. Staying at home with the kids is admirable and whatever, but now that both are in school I felt like I needed to contribute financially (snicker) or at least start building my resume again. And since I work mostly on the weekends, I don’t have to put the kids in childcare that would keep them away from home for 11 hours a day or completely negate my paycheck. Plus we can still enjoy maximum flexibility during vacations and sick days. And I daresay the kids are enjoying some one-on-one time with Rob.
My career “path” continues to be elusive, but I remain hopeful that inspiration will strike out of the blue. Maybe while at work. I do meet a lot of interesting people there. Who knows?
By the way, Little Helping Hands has an amazing activity right now for anyone who’d like to combine volunteering with a family night at home. I never do product reviews or advertisements on this blog, but this is such a great idea I think it’s worth mentioning. Big Night In, from LHH, is a box that includes a game, a gift certificate for a 4-person meal, snacks, drinks, and a volunteer project. So it’s like family game night (with a new board game you can keep), without cooking and including a meaningful activity you all share. All the proceeds help Little Helping Hands continue their mission. I’ve never heard of anything like it, and I think it would be great fun or a thoughtful gift (Mothers’ Day?). Check it out:
Let me know what surprises you find in your Big Night In Box.