My first guest in my blog series on Writers and Altruism is Portland author Dawn Prochovonic.
Why is volunteering important to you?
Volunteering is important to me on many different levels, and it has opened my heart and mind in unexpected ways. Volunteering helps me feel connected and involved with my local community. It’s also a way for me to model for my children how to contribute to a community. Volunteering is something I enjoy doing with other families, and many of the friendships I now enjoy grew out of volunteer projects shared with others. Volunteer work provides subtle reminders to keep the obstacles and disappointments in my own life in perspective, and in many cases, I’ve learned valuable new skills while volunteering. Whether on an emotional level or a practical level, I always feel richer for the experience.
Why do you volunteer for The Beaverton Clothes Closet?
The Beaverton Clothes Closet is an outreach of the Beaverton School District. Each school in the district supplies volunteers to staff the Clothes Closet once each week. The first time I volunteered for this organization it was because my neighborhood school needed to fill slots for their scheduled shift, and I happened to be available to assist. I found the experience extremely humbling and rewarding. I was able to see, first hand, children’s needs being met and the relief on parents’ faces when they were able to secure needed clothing for their children. The number of families seeking assistance was astounding to me. I was reminded in a very potent way of the simple comforts my family enjoys each and every day, and how even though we are full of gratitude, the reality is that we take many seemingly simple comforts for granted. I went straight home and dug through closets and drawers and gathered up most-needed items such as shoes, coats and blue jeans to donate . . . and I have volunteered for the organization ever since.
Dawn Prochovnic is the author of 16 picture books for children, including, “The Nest Where I Like to Rest,” a 2011 Oregon Book Awards Finalist. Dawn speaks regularly at schools, libraries and professional development conferences throughout the Pacific NW. Learn more at www.dawnprochovnic.com.