Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sure is early.

It's nearly 7:00 am and the Knitternall family's morning has been underway over an hour. We rise and stumble at 5:30 so High School Girl can catch her bus to the Fernbank Science Tools & Technology program. No complaints from her ... all that science is nirvana to her rationalist soul. (Oh, the philosophical and faithful discussions we have had ...)

Once the fog of sleepwalking in the dark lifts, I'm glad I'm up so early. I'm at my most productive during those brisk hours before mid-afternoon, after which I slide into a stuporous, slow blinking half attention for late afternoon and evening meetings and deadlines (fair warning). One of my clients is at full charge around the time I head to bed, which means she's texting me at a time I can't think straight. We've worked out a system where she sends stuff to me well past midnight, then I tackle them a few hours later. Deadlines met.

Good morning, Dunwoody.

Hello, Mr. Smith, the preternaturally alert and cautious school bus driver who rises at 3 am, makes his rounds in Dunwoody, then delivers his teen-aged passengers safely to Decatur each day.

See you tonight, Campaign Guy, as he leaves for another busy day bridging work and Dunwoody visits. We'll meet again over dinner.

Have a great day, neighbors leaving the house with one hand on the wheel and the other flexing a coffee cup to lips in the dark of the pre-dawn work day.

Sssshhh, lawn care companies starting power mowers and blowers before 9 (actually, at 7:15 one recent morning). I know you have a long day ahead, but please don't break the morning peace so abruptly.

That's enough, Fox News, CNN, and other cable news shows relying way too much yelling at each other rather than the calmer BBC method of simply reporting the news.

I'm on it, much valued client texting a desperate "can you get this by 10 am today" plea for writerly attention.

Just a minute, hyperactive Scooter the Wonder Dog. You don't really need to go to the bathroom - it's that chipmunk family under the front steps you're really keen to check on.

Have a great day!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Volunteers do it for free.

What makes Dunwoody truly great is the limitless capacity of friends and neighbors to volunteer their time and talent for causes near and dear to their hearts. 

In the past few weeks, I've had the privilege of working with volunteers at Dunwoody High School, Dunwoody Nature Center, Campaign Guy's energetic yard sign brigade, the DeKalb Master Gardener program, and St. Luke's Presbyterian Church. As I've shopped, carpooled, and run errands, I've also encountered volunteers like the firefighters collecting for Muscular Dystrophy, a sweet woman staffing the gift shop at Scottish Rite, parents loading and unloading instruments for the Friday night Marching Band performance, a young mom carrying a bag and picking up trash as she walked her child to Austin Elementary School, bloggers spreading the news about community events to Dunwoody's virtual neighborhood, the Young Professionals of Dunwoody planning a spectacular block party benefiting the DHS Band program, and .... well, frankly, seeing volunteers isn't just an occasional thing in Dunwoody. It's a don't-blink-or-you'll-miss-'em, integral part of life in this It's a Wonderful Life town.

John F. Kennedy gave us all an echoing call to volunteerism, asking us to give, not receive; to look for opportunities to serve, not to benefit.  The Peace Corps, Habitat for Humanity, and other world-changing volunteer organizations are a legacy of my childhood, that era when a passion to change the world preempted practical considerations like retirement funds and keeping up with the Joneses. Dunwoody is well represented by volunteer service organizations like the National Charity League, Dunwoody Woman's Club, Rotary and Kiwanis, faith groups, medical-focused charities, and others.

As this economy makes all of us look over our shoulders and fret over savings and expenditures, volunteers are even more critical to the quality of life we enjoy.  According to The Nonprofit Times,

"(t)he total estimated value of volunteer service in 2010 reached $173 billion with the proportion of volunteers serving more than 100 hours increasing from 33.2 percent in 2009 to 33.8 percent in 2010."
My unsubstantiated guess is that the percentage of Dunwoody volunteers serving that 100+ hour mark is even higher.

As the 10th anniversary of 9/11 draws near, remember. And do something. Honor our men and women in uniform by using the freedoms they fight so hard to defend. Including volunteering your time and talent to enrich our community. Check with Dunwoody's own PebbletossersHands on Atlanta, and the City's volunteer opportunities board. Grab a trash bag and talk a walk around town - there's always windblown trash in natural areas and rights-of-way. 

Volunteers do it for free .... and from the heart.