It may be harder to get volunteers for Payson Community Kids when volunteers must pay to volunteer.
A volunteer as described by Webster is “A person who performs or gives his services of his own free will.” Having given of my own free will with the charming kids at Payson Community Kids, I was summarily dismissed because I hadn’t volunteered 60 of my own dollars to have a background check done on me.
I learned the intrinsic rewards of volunteering as a young Girl Scout and from the example of my parents. Those feelings of reward never left me. As I grew into adulthood, I continued to offer my services by becoming a Girl Scout leader to both my daughter and my two granddaughters.
Additionally, I volunteered as a steering committee member for our daughter’s San Diego high school’s first-ever grad night and of a Wider Opportunity for Girl Scouts nationwide. I was sent with expenses paid twice to the Girl Scout training center in New York. I volunteered at the YMCA. For many years I was a volunteer usher at the Olde Globe Theater in San Diego. I have volunteered as a counselor at an overnight art camp and at a sailing day camp. I have volunteered for father/daughter dances and public radio. I’ve volunteered at both pop and symphonic concerts. I’ve volunteered and will continue to with school children through the Diocese of Phoenix.
A dollar amount cannot be put on the rewards I’ve received through volunteering, but I had never been required to pay to volunteer.
Since I had not acted on the background check (and check) following weeks of volunteering with the kids, organizing the magnanimous supplies that are stockpiled and steering the huge garage sale for which I recruited five people, I was summarily told I was no longer wanted at Payson Community Kids.
So, maybe it isn’t just about the kids. It seems there’s a new kid in town that should be called Suzy and Chris’ Kids. This couple that comprises 50 percent of the board is running the show now and if you’re not on their schedule like Project Runway, “One day you’re in and the next day you’re out.”
So my willingness to serve, degree in art and vast experience with children including years as a children’s librarian is less than enough to assist with children in need of support and role models a few hours a week. Is it not a shame what is valued today?
And speaking of the almighty dollar, this force is now soliciting funds to build a new facility. The ballpark estimate is $50,000. Do they have a plan for the salaries for staff, furnishing the building, paying the utilities and upkeep?
During my two months of volunteering with the kids, others willing to contribute time or effort were not lined up to help. I doubt that telling prospective volunteers that they have to pony up $60 will change this for the positive.
So kids, I enjoyed our time together; miss you, your hugs and beautiful smiles and hope the best for you all.