Saturday, March 10, 2012

Volunteering on Ice

A modified version of this post was originally shared on Voluntary Happiness.

About two years ago, I reached out to Arlington County's Therapeutic Recreation Office to see if they had any opportunities that might work well for the Community Volunteer Network. At the time, I was started to take a more active role in the group and helping individuals with disabilities was missing from the group's activities.

The first activity the group approached us to help with was a family ice skating night. Truth be told, I cannot really ice skate. I can propel myself slowly across the ice by moving my right leg just a few inches at a time and keeping my arms straight out to the side for balance. Fortunately, my fellow volunteers came through and most of them were able to take the lead.

Last year, the opportunity came up again, but rather than fear the ice as I had done last year, I went in with a big smile determined to set a good example. Before long, I was on the ice with a tiny hand holding my left hand with all her might. She looked up at me with an expression that said both "Come on grown-up, let's go!" and "Please don't let me fall." With a nod from a fellow volunteer, I pushed off from the wall and we slowly made our way around the rink. Neither one of us fell and before long, she was doing just fine on her own. I helped a few more kids that evening and even did a few rounds on my own. It wasn't fast and I never really learned how to stop, aside from just running into the wall, but I was having fun and so were the kids.

The event is coming up again this year. Will I be there? Absolutely! And this time, I have a renewed sense of confidence to share with the kids. 

If you'd like to volunteer with Therapeutic Recreation (same group I wrote about before with #1: We Ask That You Be Patient), CVN is helping out for the ice skate night on Friday, March 16th, and there are a few open slots. Please note that they have enough volunteers to help off the ice, so a skill level slightly higher than mine will be helpful!

Also, to get involved long-term, some of their opportunities are listed on Volunteer Arlington in the Parks & Recreation  list. Or, let me know what you'd like to do and I'll put you in touch with the right person.

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