I’ve been so careful over the past few years to not get too involved in different community groups and organizations. It’s not that I didn’t want to, but rather I knew it was for the best. I’m already a busy person, and I feared that adding on the responsibilities of a charity organization or advocacy group would likely lead to something being dropped.
So I’ve been happy to help where I could, without getting too involved. I was on the board of my local homeowners association for a year because they needed someone and it wasn’t time consuming. I’ve done walks to raise money for different groups, and I always try to support our school fundraisers. I’ve advocated on a smaller scale for Cordy, of course. But generally I’ve avoided being on the front lines if I could help it. Because then if another part of my life got busy, I didn’t feel like I was letting anyone down if I slacked off on my devotion to that particular group or cause.
It’s not that I want to say no. It’s the opposite, really. I usually hide to avoid any situation where I’d need to say no, because if asked to volunteer, I will often say yes. I’ve suffered from helium hand (always volunteering myself) too many times to let myself get dragged down to the point where I’m disappointing others or ignoring my own needs and health.
And then this past year happened. It started with the bus, then the school levy, then the changes to gifted education, and continued far beyond my personal sphere to speaking out for another school to help them keep their principal, and helping another community preserve and renovate a building to increase capacity for its A-rated elementary school. I’m also working to develop a virtual book drive with FirstBook.org to benefit the school district, too. (More on that soon!) I’m having trouble saying no at this point.
To seal the deal in becoming an official activist, I accepted an officer position on Monday at our school district’s PACE meeting. PACE is the support and advocacy group for parents of gifted students, and I’m the new secretary. It’s not exactly a power-player role, but it’s my first officer position within an advocacy group. It makes me a little less vigilante, but hopefully having an officer position can be the first step to getting my foot into more doors.
Who knows why I agreed to a formal position at this point, but I felt like I needed to do it. At least in our school district, it’s finally starting to feel like we’re getting the ear of the administration (starting…it’s a long process), and this school year has been eye opening in seeing where improvements could be made to help our kids succeed.
So…maybe I’m setting myself up for a lot of stress, or maybe this will be the beginning of something great and I’ll have a role in shaping important changes to benefit others. No way to know for sure without diving in. I know the power of passionate, dedicated advocates – both online and in my city – and while I could never dream of doing some of the great things they’ve done, I can at least pledge to be part of the solution rather than allowing the problems to go on.
Any hey, it’s not like this is another ball to juggle in my daily life. The ball has been there the whole time – I’m just more aware of it now.