As back-to-school season is in full swing, I can’t help but think about the students of Charles S. Brownell Elementary School in Chicago as they head back to class this year. Like many public schools, Brownell, faces many difficult problems including budget cuts. Budget cuts impact repairs, beautification, athletics and other extracurricular activities. This year, I was fortunate enough to be able to make an impact on one of those areas, however small it may have been, by volunteering in Chicago at Brownell Elementary.
On June 12, 2010, I volunteered along with my coworkers for the Chicago Cares 7th Annual Serve-A-Thon. Thousands of volunteers across Chicago participated in the event and showed their support for Chicago Public Schools. As the city’s largest day of service, this event gives volunteers the opportunity to create positive and inspiring learning environments for students throughout the city of Chicago.
At Brownell, my team painted stairwells, lockers and mascot banners. We created a mosaic was created to encourage the kids to read. The mosaic consisted of three pieces stating the message: We love reading. My task for the day was to help construct four large wooden benches. I was amazed by how well my team worked together on the project. At the end of the event, the Assistant Principal of the school came out and expressed her happiness for the work we put forth that day. I was truly moved by my service experience at Brownell. I hope these students are inspired to participate, play and learn as they return to school this year!
Volunteering not only allows you to give back to your community, it benefits you personally as well. I made friends, enhanced relationships with my coworkers and I learned a little more about myself and the importance of teamwork. Please get involved in your community and encourage your company to do so at the same time. You will be glad you did. Find out about opportunities for volunteering in your community.