Friday, January 8, 2021

Five on Friday: How to Host a Successful Day of Service

Last year started like any other for us like it always does, with me falling asleep long before the stroke of midnight followed by a cold month with two beloved annual events: visiting the kids’ Great Grandmother for her birthday and then the Annual Martin Luther King Day of Service that I organize.

This event, which started in my dining room, is now so big we reach capacity at the church hall where it is held. Participants come from all over the county and beyond because there aren't many other public days of service around. This prompted me to plan a workshop on how to host a successful day of community service so that others could start them in their own towns.

Then Covid happened.

You can guess how this ended.

Since I never got to hold that workshop, I thought I would at least share my unofficial steps to hosting a successful day of service. (Later I may post real tips, but for now I leave you with this tongue-in-cheek checklist.)

1. Late January: Realize that if I got started earlier next time, maybe I wouldn’t have that crunch time freakout. Write well-thought out reminders and tasks on the calendar, starting in October and adequately spaced out.

2. Early October: Have first reminder pop up. Push snooze. Repeat in late October when the reminder comes back up. Push delete this time.

3. Mid-November: Begin to feel overwhelmed by the impending holidays combined with the thought of planning a day of service even though I literally broke it down into very easy-to-do tasks for myself, some of them literally being as easy as “email so-and-so.”

4. Late December: Commence the real freakout*.

(*this year compounded by "how the hell do I do ^this remotely??")

5. Mid January: Somehow* manage to pull off another successful event. Pat myself on the back. Realize that if I got started earlier next time, maybe I wouldn’t have that crunch time freak out. Write well-thought out reminders and tasks on the calendar, starting in October and adequately spaced out.

*Full disclosure: that "somehow" is made up of many generous donors who fund the event, my co-organizer Mom, my family for dealing with boxes of supplies that take over the house and for helping me sort and move them, the church that I don't even go to letting me use their space, volunteers who help purchase supplies, set up the room, direct traffic, run tables, deliver projects, host bake sales, set up screen printing stations, clean up the room and MORE!!  I absolutely COULD NOT do this without the strength of an entire community behind me.  Hey, I should hold a workshop to teach people how to get to started with this . . .

 

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