I recently took my children to an event created by a mom and employee of a local school district. I only found out about the monthly gathering hosted in my community by chance at a birthday party.
After reading the agenda for the March invite, I opted to take my two elementary-school sons and check it out. I was impressed because the entire event taught us all, at different age levels, the importance of contributions and service to our local communities.
With this month’s focus on service we were all encouraged to bring supplies to build special kits for the homeless community. The kits consisted of warming gloves, toothpaste, toothbrushes, Kleenex, lip balm, socks and more. Our children worked to help build the bags to be donated to Aurora Warms the Night in the future. While the goal was to create about 50 bags, based on the amount of supplies donated, I’m sure the nonprofit organization received a lot more.
In talking to my sons after the gathering, they talked about how they learned that the simple gesture of opening a door for someone is considered good service in our community. My 6-year-old, while enamored by the laminating machine, did get some value from his breakout session. Along with an art project, he also learned the meaning of the Mother Teresa quote, “Give your hands to serve and your hearts to love.”
Parents were also required to participate in a breakout group where we interviewed each other and learned a bit more about virtues. As we listened to answers and got to know some of the community parents we did not know — we realized how good it felt to hear good things from others.
When we talked about what we gained from the exercise, one participating dad summed it up well — he said we often get caught up in judging others, having preconceived notions based on a look or attitude, when in reality hearing from someone else about our own good traits and values made him feel good.
This was one example of good happening quietly in our local communities. I truly saw the value in a day like this where it teaches our kids that the world is not just about how many material things we can take from it, but also how small, kind gestures can make it a better place.
In our own newspapers over recent weeks, I cannot say enough about the good deeds and treasured moments our reporters are capturing. I am like many newspaper readers, while I want to know the controversy and newsy stuff, I also love to hear about and know about the good news.
From our local high schools in Douglas and Arapahoe counties raising funds to make children’s wishes come true to the Castle View High School project to raise funds to help save the rainforest — our young people are doing great things to help us today and in the future do better.
In Arapahoe County, we have a story of citizens and deputies at a courthouse coming together to save one woman’s life.
There is always a place out there to lend a hand. Whether it be through a small gesture to help someone with a door or a handful of groceries or on a bigger scale of making sure 50 or more homeless people get some extra supplies or help — We can make a big difference through small gestures every day.
Thelma Grimes is the south metro editor for Colorado Community Media.