We All Win

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By Mark Neidlinger

No, this is not a spineless diatribe on why we are all winners. Even though I received a trophy when my 1987 youth soccer team came in last place, I don't share that sentiment. No ... this is about win-win situations. One in particular in fact.

I wrote a while ago about seeing a "To Write Love On Her Arms" t-shirt while at Disneyland while my family was there celebrating my wife's birthday. We love that place. So when we heard about their program this year about getting a day pass for giving a day of service (Give a Day, Get a Disney Day), we jumped at the opportunity.

After some research, we found an opportunity to volunteer with World Vision at their Teacher Resource Center in Fife. This place provides free school supplies to schools and teachers in the greater Seattle and Tacoma area. They are targeted at students in need in the Northwest.

When we walked in on Saturday morning, we saw pallets upon pallets of school supplies, all donated to World Vision. Our job was to take the supplies off the pallets and restock the shelves in the "store" so that teachers could easily find and shop for the supplies. The two registers at the front door reminded me of the MasterCard commercials: 1 ruler = zero dollars, 10 notebooks = zero dollars, 15 boxes of pencils = zero dollars, giving a child in need supplies to help her succeed in school = priceless. With each pack of highlighters and decimal blocks I placed on the shelves, I thought of the excited child who would otherwise not be able to afford these. I also thought of the teachers in our area who are struggling to provide the best education for our youth and how this place was providing supplies that many teachers have been spending their hard-earned money on.

After hours and hours of heavy lifting and sorting, we (a group of about 15) had the shelves completely packed with supplies, and the loading area ready for the forklifts to refill from the 30 foot high rows and rows of supplies later in the week. We are looking forward to receiving our day passes to Disneyland and enjoying another vacation at the happiest place on earth. But I'm not sure that will compare to the joy experienced while at World Vision's Teacher Resource Center. Thanks to Jim Peterson (the General Manager) for coordinating all of us into a highly organized team!

See ... a real win-win!

P.S. - If you are interested in volunteering for this extremely worthwhile and beneficial cause, you can contact Jim Peterson at (253) 922-6240. I know I'll be heading back.

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