Give What You Can
by Catherine Bernard
Iím not THAT mom Ö you know the one whoís the room mother in all three of her kidsí classrooms. Iím not the mom who volunteers on the PTO for the great big fundraiser each year and stays at the book fair until the wee hours of the night setting up.
I canít be that mom Ė I have three kids ages 7, 5 and 2. And my 7-year-old son has cancer! Heís been in treatment since 2005, and our lives are forever changed because of his illness. Weíve adopted a new ďnormalĒ while heís being treated for leukemia.
I have limitations to what I can do in my childrenís classrooms and at school. But I do participate when I can. I volunteer in both my sonís first grade classroom and my daughterís kindergarten classroom once a week. I often ask the teachers if I can take any projects home to help them out. I offer to provide items for class parties even when I canít make it to the party. I do what I can.
Our school has a motto: ďGive what you can when you can.Ē If itís time, resources, services or money Ė all are needed. No act of giving goes unnoticed and every little bit of involvement helps make our childrenís school experience better.
I donít have to be involved in every event that takes place at the school, but itís important for me to volunteer in the community wherever and however I can. Getting involved in something has taught my children how important giving back is in life.
There are many ways to be involved, and theyíre not always related to school events. For the past two years, Iíve been part of Team in Training that raises money and awareness for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society. Iíve run two marathons honoring my son. He helps me organize fundraising events and watches me train to reach my goal of crossing the finish line after running 26.2 miles.
Community involvement allows our children to see us serving others. It can be as simple as donating items to Goodwill, sending cookies to service men and women, helping teachers with lesson plans or reading a story at preschool. The list for getting involved is endless! Find your passion and go for it.
Catherine Bernard is the author of the book "So Now What? Seven Ideas for Coping with the Unexpected in Life" and editor of The Shoe Box Daily (theshoeboxdaily.com).