Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Day 109: Helping Others Helps Me Too

I am getting ready to head off to the City of Torrance Community Services Department Volunteer Dinner. I almost feel kind of weird being invited since I haven't actually done much volunteer work for them this past year. I was invited because I write the newsletter for the Torrance Farmers' Market and help with special events. I haven't been much help lately because I have let my OCDing over my work get in the way of many things, sadly, this is just one of those things.

It is also another one of the ironies in my life. Having been an employee of the same department many years ago, I vowed to "never" be involved with them again. Of course, I have been volunteering for them since 2000, and the tired cliche "never say never" never fails to disappoint in my life; i.e. "I will never get married." "I will never move back to So Cal," etc. etc. But, I have learned to "never" say "never" anymore ;-D!!!

It was because of my work as editor and writer of the farmers' market newsletter that I became a farm writer. I literally, accidentally stumbled into something that has become my life's passion. I reasoned that somebody needed to tell the stories of our farmers, and save what little we have left, and to inspire others to do the same. At the time, NOBODY was writing about them, now it seems everyone is. Hmm, maybe I was right after all.

Volunteering not only led me to my life's work, but to other wonderful things in my life. At one time I volunteered with the newly formed Cultural Arts Center Foundation, and a relationship I developed there led me to paying work as the editor of the ADVANTAGE Newsletter at Torrance Memorial Hospital, something I have done for almost 6 years now.

And working for Health Education at Torrance Memorial has led me to another part of my work I am passionate about, teaching others to grow their own food. I started a senior gardening program at Torrance Memorial and while I have enjoyed teaching lectures/workshops at the hospital in conference rooms, I have longed to have a spot where we could do things hands-on.

I am happy to say that we soon will! We will be working at a community garden plot at Columbia Park Community Garden. How did I get so lucky to get a plot at this popular garden? You guessed it, because of my volunteer work with the farmers' market.

Awesome presentation area at Columbia Park Community Gardens

While all of these things have been wonderful, the bottom line is that when I help others, by giving classes, setting up gardens, or just helping with an event, I feel so good. When somebody comes up and thanks me for giving them back the gift of gardening, or tells me how much I have helped them, there's no amount of money, no job, really nothing that could mean as much.


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