Thursday, April 14, 2011

Living the Life/COTS Volunteer

I lead a charmed life. I had traveled all over the world before I was 18 years old. My parents let me pick which ever college I wanted. They even let me pick my major. They haven't once question that fact that I wanted to study journalism. My mom does inquire on occasion about when I will be a 'concert pianist and prima ballerina.' We all know that is just not going to happen anytime soon (or ever.) That is besides the point, though. Long story short, my biggest concern right now is picking an outfit for the talent show, writing my outline of 'The Feminine Mystique,' or if I will be home in Tahoe or interning in Los Angeles this summary.

I realize that you all probably want to let go of your lunch from the rainbows and unicorns I am painting for you. Sure, I get stressed and have a million things to do. Occasionally, I forget an assignment and have to scramble to do it the night before, but for me, life is about as easy as it gets. I say 'about as easy' because Paris Hilton doesn't have to do anything. I'm pretty sure she just shops and goes bar hopping. I'm pretty sure she has the easiest life... and before you think it, NO, paparazzi do not make life bad. I can't wait to be swarmed by paparazzi when I get my morning coffee.

The point of this story is to lead into my recent volunteer experience with COTS, the Committee on Temporary Shelter. COTS provides food, shelter, and counseling for homeless individuals and families in Burlington, VT. I am currently doing some PR work for them through  my writing class. In order to get to better know the organization, we volunteered with one of the MOVE programs, Family Friends. Family Friends goes to family COTS shelters and provides child care for a few hours so that parents may have some down time. This was my first experience with MOVE or COTS, and I am thrilled to say that it something I'd like to do more next year.

Four of us hung out with these absolutely precious little kids. The youngest was a girl, 6 months, and the oldest, as 6 years old and in the first grade. They were never fussy. One boy did want to escape to the playground, but boys will be boys. We met some of the parents and it made me feel so fortunate for all that I have. These people are all trying to get back on their feet and provide for their families and COTS gives them that opportunity. These people broke my stereotype of homeless people. I'll be the first to admit that when I hear homeless, I think 'grungy, dirty, unshaven older man.' I never think of entire families with small children. It made me realize what a great program COTS is as well what an impact MOVE makes on the community. The parents were so grateful to have a moment to themselves.

That's all I wanted to say. It was just a new experience I wanted to share with you and I hope you will get involved with in some way while you are here. :) Please don't hesitate to ask me questions on VYou or Formspring. There are close to 300 (maybe more) answers between the two of those platforms. If you see me at the Accepted Student Day this weekend, don't feel awkward saying 'hi.' I don't want to sound like a diva, but I really do get recognized from my blog all the time.

Also, don't forget there is a Knight Chat tonight (April 14) at 7:30 pm to 9 pm EST, where a few bloggers will be around to answer questions and you can also chat with your future classmates. Hope to 'see' you there!

xoxo
Gabbi

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