It was a hot one as volunteers worked side by side with residents in the Elyria and Swansea neighborhoods. Not one complaint was heard as all took on their tasks with pride and care. The theme this day was about cooperation, connection, and volunteerism not only amongst volunteers within ECM, but also amongst the residents.
The energy on this block was definitely buzzing, not just because of the chainsaw that DCC (Denver Community Church) volunteer Chris was yielding, but also the buzzing energy one feels when they connect with another being; very evident as Chris, nicknamed “tree man” (by me), walked from home to home trimming trees in the neighborhood. He worked alongside residents to salvage trees (thought dead), but really just needed some TLC. As sawdust rained over us from the tree trimming, resident Vicky stood with volunteers and shared stories about her life, and how she believes life is a miracle as Vicky suggested was evident when ECM showed up at her door to offer help…just when she needed it.
I learned that resident Cory and his roommates were AmeriCorps volunteers. It was so refreshing to see young adults giving back to their community. Fellow roommate Laura works with the I Have a Dream foundation. I Have a Dream works with disadvantaged youth, and Laura mentors these teens. She mentioned that she and her group of teens have signed up to work with ECM. Now that is volunteerism coming full circle!
The AmeriCorps volunteers weren’t the only young adults with big hearts and a willingness to give back to their communities – we also saw this winning attitude in Ana. Ana lives with her parents and brother and acts as interpreter for her Spanish speaking parents. Ana not only impressed me with her personality and kind demeanor, but she also found favor amongst the DCC volunteers. Ana suggested we check to see if her elderly neighbor needed help. Ana said she had recently taken her neighbor to the hospital when she fell and injured her hip. Ana shared that she wanted to become an EMT (emergency medical technician), and that she would also like to do some volunteer work, as well. I referred her to ECM and also told her to talk to her fellow neighbor Cory – working with AmeriCorps.
Once again, I am grateful for the opportunity to work alongside people with positive attitudes and who want to make a difference in the world through cooperation, connection, and giving. Thank you to Denver Community Church, Fehr & Peers, Pinnacle National Honor Society, and the individual volunteers for their help, and to our residents in Elyria Swansea neighborhood for sharing their stories.
-Lisa, ECM Communications Team