Washington, D.C. is a very transient city. Administrations come and go, and waves of friends get whirled into and out of the city like a centrifuge. It can be easy to feel disconnected sometimes. I spend most of my day working in D.C. but interact with very few people who were born and spent their whole lives here. Being a member of Dupont Rotary has given me opportunities to give back and feel more connected to the city.
For example, the Dupont Rotary partners with BEST Kids, a very good non-profit here in Washington, D.C. that provides mentors for kids who are in the foster care system. The mentors provide the kids with positive, stable adult relationships that would otherwise be lacking.
We recently held a peer group session for a group of children at the MLK library. Together, we made hats and cards for residents of a hospice care center. While my artistic skills are very limited, we had a fun time making a variety of arts and crafts. I also had a good time getting beat by the kids in "banangram" - a less structured version of scrabble. We also played a variant of "Paper, Rock, Scissors" called "Giants, Wizards, and Elves". The kids got a kick out of that. At the end, we talked about what we liked about the day and wrote notes of appreciation to people we spent time with. I received a thank you note for giving one of the (very energetic!) kids a piggy back ride.
The kids have been dealt a rough hand in life, but like other kids, they love to play games, learn, and try new things. I really enjoyed the time I spent with them and hope to participate in future peer groups. Am thinking it would be fun to go to the zoo with them...
Are you interested in helping? What BEST Kids needs more than anything are mentors. Male and female mentors are welcome, but there are definitely far fewer male mentors available. Can't be a mentor? You could still help by getting the word out to your network and/or helping with a fundraiser for the organization.
Despite rain and traffic, it was a memorable day for both children and adults. Looking forward to the next peer group already!