Sunday, June 15, 2014

The challenge of doing charity work

My R2-D2 and I have been doing a variety of pediatric visits, charity work, school visits and much more since November of 2011.  

Hard to believe it has been almost 4 years!  In that time, I have made numerous modifications, enhancements, repairs and even had to replace the frame due to a crack forming from all our travels!

I built R2-D2 with pediatric visits in mind.  I had no idea how much my community would embrace this little droid!  The invites to events started coming in and over the past few years, I have been pleased to do as many as I could.

On the Pro side of things, we have helped many charities draw in a crowd, which of course means more monies coming in.  I've had a chance to meet a lot of amazing kids, patients, families and so much more.

On the Con side, I've learned how frustrating it can be to volunteer your time and not feel appreciated for doing so.

I've watched kids and young adults beat, kick, poke, pull and willfully damage what's taken me years to build.  I've been asked to bring R2 for events where no one would assist me in unloading or even finding a parking space close to the event. 

On a few occasions, we haven't even been thanked for the time, planning and effort that goes into bringing R2 to an event.  Or, worse, is when I go through great expense and planning to participate in an event, only to be bad-mouthed by the organizer afterwards.  Very frustrating.

But I want to emphasize that the GOOD experiences are much, much greater than the BAD.  

I've spent a few months reflecting on how to handle some of the events that could have worked out better.  As suggested by some friends, in the planning stages of the event, I establish what I will need.  Some muscle to help with unloading and loading, a place close to the location to park and arrange for some chaperons to ward off curious hands that damage R2.  And this works well!  

So with all of that said, I have decided to scale back all the events I do for a while.  I have politely declined a few requests recently simply because I have so much going on (work, school, life!).  I truly enjoy making the kids smile and helping the many good causes that come my way.  But for the short term, we're going to enjoy some down time and recharge our batteries.