The Gift Of Volunteering

Ah, the infamous Tricky Tray, the annual super fundraiser that generates thousands of dollars for a worthy cause. For those of you who may not be familiar with one- local businesses, families, and friends donate lovely gifts/gift cards which are wrapped in beautiful  baskets to be won by some of the lucky attendees. The mammoth amount of work that goes into the planning and execution of a Tricky Tray is mind-blowing! The solicitation of the gifts, the wrapping of approximately 300+ baskets (in our case) the creation of the program, and so much more, is exhausting, but simultaneously rewarding. Brian’s school held its Tricky Tray a few weeks ago at a local catering facility, with almost 450 attendees! This year’s very worthy cause is for a new adaptive playground, designed by the school’s occupational and physical therapists. It will be an extremely valuable asset for many students at the school who struggle with fine motor and gross motor challenges, enabling them to further hone their skills, while having fun at the same time.

The Moms
responsible for the huge success of this year’s Tricky Tray are some of the hardest working/giving women that I know. They devoted several  weeks
of their free time before the actual event, despite having such full plates with their own children’s special needs. Their attention to detail, their willingness to help in any way possible, their creativity and determination to pull together a fabulous fundraiser, was inspirational. I am proud to know them and respect all the hard work that they do throughout the school year to ensure that our kids have enriching social and educational opportunities. I have very recently joined the ranks of Brian school’s Parent/Teacher Association (which is called the Parents Professional Organization, or PPO)
and am glad that I have.  I realize that the children are not the only ones who benefit from this organization.

I too, am a blessed recipient of a number of gifts as a result of my recent volunteering
with the PPO. Some are obvious, for example, the joy I receive knowing that Brian and his fellow students get to do a variety of things, like
going on field trips, experience parties, and other social events, which is great for their overall learning and  all made possible by the PPO. Volunteering my time also allows me to forge  new friendships with other  like-minded parents, which is a huge gift!  One of the struggles in the special needs journey is the tendency to become isolated and bogged down by the endless details of our child’s care. The caretaking can be all-consuming, both physically and mentally, so it is good to connect with other parents who totally “get it”, even though the needs of our children are often different. We need each other and friendships to get through the ups and downs of this life. Finally, I receive the Gift of Healthy Distraction, which is truly a blessing, because I realize with each passing day that while I do as much as possible to create Brian’s Best Life, I  still struggle with those aspects of Brian’s life that are challenging and will remain so for the duration.
I find that I can best cope with this truth when my attention  and energies are channeled into productive, meaningful, activity. It really is a “win win” for all involved!

Our life with Brian is often an adventure with its unique twists and turns, never boring, and often eventful. Volunteering adds richness and flavor to this journey in ways that I would have never imagined,  while meeting great people along the way.  I am glad for this opportunity to be involved, for in the final analysis, we parents need one another for support and encouragement as much as our children need life experiences that will help them to grow.

Until next time…thanks for reading! 🙂

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