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Sunday, January 24, 2016

Making Snow Angels

Today, I volunteered with the Akron Snow Angels.   Their site, www.akronsnowangels.com, puts down the best summary possible.   “We help the less fortunate by providing them with warm clothing, toiletries & most importantly great conversation, friendship, compassion & respect.”    When it comes to what the group does…that nails it.


The morning started off with a great energy which carried through the whole experience.   After some organizational items, we loaded up and headed out.  I was to help two ladies pass out toiletries and underwear.   I’m not really sure what I expected, but whatever it was, that’s not really what happened.   I saw people.   I interacted with people.   We shared stories.   We shared laughs.   We shared respect.   There are some great people!    Any apprehension that I had entering into all of this very quickly melted away.   What an amazing thing to be a part of!


Before leaving the second site that we visited, a few of us had a chat with a man named Mickey.   He’s lived on the streets of Akron for 10 years now.   Born and raised in Akron, he’s been here his whole life.   I have no idea on what chain of events has led him to be where he is, but he blamed no one.   He called himself a survivor, which to me, seems to be an understatement during a very chilly winter.   Most of all, he had hope.   “Someday it’ll get better” was what he kept saying.   Wow…  


Living in the moment is a pretty good description of how it all went for me.   Things were happening so quickly that I was just focused on doing what I could to get items to the people that needed them.   As I started to compile information and put things together in my head later in the day, that’s when it all started to get a bit too much for my neurons to handle.   So having walked the dog, and some time in my favorite chair pondering, I’m finding that my brain is still having a difficult time getting through the big “What did I just witness?” question.   I’m still not sure, but I know that it was good.   


So what did I learn by helping?   Being my first time out with Akron Snow Angels, there were many more lessons than I’ll be able to grasp in one sitting.   The lesson that stood out to me from the day as a whole is that I learned that everyone deserves respect.   We all have different circumstances.   We all have different tools and excel in certain areas.   Thankfully, what Mickey and many others in his situation excel at is holding onto hope.   I’m not sure that I could do what these people do day in and day out.   It takes a very different skill set than what I have.   They all have my respect for that.      

Today gave me an amazing feeling.   I’d love for you to experience it also.   Please find something to get active in.   Make a difference.  Make a lasting legacy of compassion.