Volunteering by playing – is that even possible?

So now that my work obligations have wrapped up for certain reasons..some of them outside of my control..I am thinking..what do I do with all this newfound time I have? If there is one thing that will motivate me to go get a job or do something productive during the day – it’s not the need for financial freedom…it’s not the urge to justify those advanced degrees…what it really is..is my passionate aversion to daytime soap operas!:)

I looked up Volunteer Match, a site I have often visited to search for local opportunities. I came upon Meals on Wheels, a program that enables one to volunteer as a packer or driver to deliver meals to seniors and the disabled. It’s a very well organized program, wherein volunteers are trained and well equipped to provide services. Must say I gathered a much better awareness of nooks and corners of San Jose those few weeks than I ever have.. in spite of having lived in the area for decades. But I wanted an opportunity wherein I would be able to interact with people one on one. So, I continued my search.

As we lived in the Campbell-Saratoga area, I had often seen children and young adults with disabilities wait at the bus stop or take walks to the farm across from Westmont high school with medical personnel supervising them. I had wondered if they belonged to a school or hospital that I had seen a sign for towards Sousa Lane, on the other side of Westmont Ave. I thought I would pay them a visit, check out to see what they were about and ask if they perhaps needed volunteers. 

Turns out the hospital itself was Saratoga subacute hospital, that serves pediatric sub-acute care for children 0-21 years of age. Right next door is Scribble and Giggles (what a fun name!:)), which is a daycare facility for medically fragile children or children with special needs. The volunteer coordinator there was very responsive and said they could use volunteers at Scribbles. I was excited at the prospect of being able to volunteer with kids, literally a stone’s throw away from where I lived. So, after getting my background check and flu shot squared away, one fine morning, I showed up at Scribbles.   

There were about 5 kids that morning. *Jayden was an infant, fast asleep. Emma, about 3 years old, could not get enough of stacking cups. There was Ethan who had a sleeping disorder..wherein he would stop breathing in his sleep. But during his waking hours, he was so active that I could barely keep up with him. Layla, a 12 year old in a wheelchair, loved looking at herself in the mirror, and loved interacting with me by wearing my rings. Johnson, the 15 year old, needed assistance to get out of bed but that didn’t stop him from enjoying music..he obsessed over a tambourine that he held near and dear. So, my shifts at Scribbles consisted of reading story books, playing house, throwing balls, painting nails and singing! It is absolutely possible to volunteer by playing..I have proof!:)

*Names of kids changed to protect their privacy.

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