responsibility.

I think we, as citizens of the human race, have the responsibility to do good. To be generous and loving and to give more than we take.

I think we have a responsibility to take care of each other.

There are lots of ways to do this, I know: giving your time to the salvation army soup kitchen, donating school supplies to the YWCA, buying a meal for that man who stands on the corner, offering to watch a friends’ kids while she goes to an appointment, making dinner for someone who is going through a lot. There are, quite literally, hundreds of ways to take care of each other.

I believe in going out of your way to help. I think it’s important to step out of your comfort zone for the good of someone else. Feeling sad and uncomfortable sometimes means you are exactly where you need to be which is why, about a year and 1/2 ago, I decided to spend some of my free time volunteering with Willow Center.

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I think you would be absolutely floored to know the number of children living in our community who have lost a parent. And from that number, your jaw would drop at the parents who died of suicide. The number is horrific. And the other deaths? The ones from cancer, car accidents, heart attacks…those deaths are just as horrible and sad and devastating.

And I think it’s really easy for us to look at a laughing, smiling child and think: “Oh, look, he/she is happy. I’m glad,” and that’s enough for us to feel better about a death they might have experienced. But after that game of kickball or after going to the movies or swimming or painting or playing with friends..the children grieve.

Actually…they grieve right on through the happy times, too.

So what does Willow Center do? Willow Center trains volunteers (like me) to help children process their grief. To guide them on their journey through something so horrible and sad and difficult and help them do it on their own time, on their own terms and to let them know there are people who care and who want to help. They get to meet twice a month with kids their own ages who have experienced a significant loss. Suddenly, they aren’t alone. They can talk about their dad’s funeral or crying at night or ask about heaven or what happens when someone is buried…and no one thinks it’s weird.

The charge for families utilizing Willow Center and its services: $0.

You can read more about Willow Center and how it helps children and families here.

“Like” their page and support their efforts. Our efforts.

We have the responsibility to help people. To take care of those who most need it.

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