I have the privilege of being a parishioner at Our Lady of Lourdes (OLL) Catholic Church in the heart of historic Irvington located on the eastside of Indianapolis. One of the benefits of participating in a city parish is witnessing the value, impact, and power of volunteerism. Where suburban parishes may have the financial wherewithal to have paid positions for many of the key positions that serve the parish and school, those same positions in an inner city parish are often roles filled by volunteers. Certainly, this is the case at OLL. The mindset of volunteering becomes an expectation of those committed to the success of the parish community and its mission.
Several weeks ago, I received an email invitation to participate in a volunteer event by the good folks at First Person. Having volunteerism ingrained in me, invitations like these are always tempting. Yet, the busy schedule and commitments with my role at netlogx tend to call my focus back to the needs of the regular work day. However, the culture and policies of netlogx very much support giving back to the community. Moreover, this invitation was particularly appealing to me as I discovered it would be serving an area of town that is only five (5) minutes or so from my Irvington home, a chance to support my eastside community. Additionally, I noted a couple of the volunteers that would be participating from First Person were Christina Hage and Paul Ashley.
Before joining netlogx in September of 2011, I had the pleasure of working with Christina at the Family and Social Services Administration, and, as I have gotten to know her over these years, I have come to greatly admire her. Paul was the first person who I met at First Person! I was immediately impressed with his expertise, as well as his engaging personality and great humor. So, naturally, the chance to hang out with two fantastic people and to enjoy the morning wearing comfortable clothes and playing in the dirt with the leadership of folks from Keep Indianapolis Beautiful was a wonderful opportunity to ditch the coat and tie for the day, which I welcomed!
The day was even better than expected! Of course, I was delighted to spend a few hours with Christina and Paul, but I also had the pleasure of working with a gaggle of other great First Person associates that morning, as well as two fine chaps, Brian and Denny, of Rieth-Riley. While I can confirm that it was real work, as we built a decorative retaining wall, moved dirt, and spread mulch, it was a grand time with lots of smiles and laughter shared by all involved. As the morning shift ended, we were able to take account of the good work that had been done to beautify an area of town in need of love, but also time to bond and soak in the great feeling about a job well done for a community in need. Good stuff!
So, next time you receive the invitation, I recommend you embrace the chance to volunteer and support a cause that will strengthen the community and leave you feeling fantastic!