We’ve all volunteered in some way for our kid’s school, no?
I took on our then elementary school rooftop playground because my son and a few of his friends were being bullied during recess.
The “playground,” where they let way too many elementary students, with a lone jungle gym and limited supervision—in other words, a blank black slate for kids to dream up trouble.
With my son threatened in any way, literally, my purpose was clear—take over the Lunch/Recess Committee and reform the system.
Mired in millions of DOE rules around what kids, parents, really anyone could or couldn’t do to improve a less than mediocre offering, I summoned my community of friends—experts and generalists to turn black tar into a basketball, dodgeball and four-square court without a budget, but with heart and paint used to create highways.
I enlisted my people—an art director, a general contractor and eight willing painters. The contractor (and fellow lobbyist) brought on the architect and professional painter.
One year later, we had a real urban playground and had also managed to fundraise for an additional supervisor.
Six months later, in my final interview for my dream re-entry job with my would be boss, I was tossed a tough question from a serial activist.
I was applying for a position that would help to bring more fresh fruits and vegetables into under-resourced communities across NYC with a lot of passion and little direct experience.
And then the question came…”Tell me a time when you took on a cause with every fiber of your being, felt pride in doing it and without any regard to negative outcomes.”
You can guess that answer.
Take stock of your volunteer efforts from this year and the community that surrounded you. Chances are good that you’ll talk about them in unexpected ways in the future.
Founder & CEO, The Summit
If you would like my help translating your volunteer experience to marketable skills, let me know!
Pictured above: The playground that got me back to work. (I’m in the pink t-shirt.)