It Pays To Aid

The Nature Center did such a fantastic job of throwing us a lovely Volunteer Recognition Dinner on Saturday. So to thank them, I thought I’d write them a small piece to let them know how much I appreciate their dedicated work, every single day!!

                              It Pays To Aid

                                                                                      by Rosa Younan

     Through the eight years of volunteering here at the North Park Village Nature Center, I’ve learned valuable lessons. I’ve learned to be better organized, to communicate to others more efficiently, and to think about others before myself. I’ve made lasting friendships here, where people not only help you but also support you.

The Nature Center is the place where I grew up and shaped into an adult. It’s where first memories were made, good fun was always allowed, and friends became family. It is a community where we all belong and where we all work to help each other.

Let’s not forget the values that truly make this place, one of a kind. Here I’ve witnessed neighbor helping neighbor and strangers coming together to build amazing things. The Nature Center is the kind of place, that helps others when they fall, and aids friends with favors. This is something we’ve all accomplished here, so let’s take joy and pride in our work. And let’s not forget the good values that are brought here.

And for me, these values were represented by the four most outstanding individuals here. Liza, Bob, Sean, and Frank. It’s these staff members who give us all we have. It’s their unwavering patience, friendly smiles, and helpful attitude that make this place run smoothly. So allow me to take the time to thank them each personally.

Mr. Bob Porter works tirelessly to organize and set up the restorations every single week. And no matter how hard things can get, I’ve witnessed him approach every obstacle with a positive attitude and yearning for football. He approaches tasks with an organization and puts a special touch in everything he does.

No matter the time or hour, Bob will always find time to bring in a laugh. He’s taught me much more than I think even he realizes. Not just about plant life, but about work ethic and this place would be so different without him. Thanks, Bob, I appreciate you!

Ms. Liza Fischel brings in a gentle and friendly disposition. She’s always willing to communicate with others and work with what we have. By observing her teaching skills, I’ve learned how to not only approach education with my mind, but also with my heart.

I’ve witnessed Liza building important relationships with many people. So many younger children love her and her patient attitude. She is a constant reminder of what all of us as educators should be thinking and doing. As she always looks for the best in people her positive attitude is evident in everything she does. She’s been my inspiration in a world filled with uncertainty and the gentle shove I need every now and then toward better things. And I hope she knows how much we all appreciate her. Thank you, Liza!

Mr. Frank DeMartino may not do educational work at the Nature Center. But I can say with firm confidence that he always does much more than is expected of him. Frank’s bright disposition makes things run so much more smoothly. Often I’ve witnessed him having a happy conversation with a newcomer, or educating others about the Center.

Frank is a unique and special human being, with a warm heart for everyone. His laughter is contagious and always welcome. I’m deeply grateful for Frank’s warm and caring attitude, for the sibling affection we have, and for the joy he breaths into the Nature Center. Thank you, Frank!!

And finally Mr. Sean Shaffer. Sean was one of the first staff members I had the pleasure of working with years ago, at the age of eleven. Our first job was to clean out the caterpillars. Yet, I remember being so fascinated with the butterflies, because of everything Sean taught me. I’ve witnessed his hard work and dedication in every task he does. His ideas are creative and unique and his classes are always a blast!

Like Frank, Sean also keeps everything running with a good joke and a happy demeanor. He also truly cares about this place and those who work here. I’ve witnessed his compassionate help toward many volunteers, myself included. He’s a patient and selfless man, who deserves to be recognized! Thank you, Sean!

I’ve learned so much from these dedicated staff members. They’ve taught me how to better my classes and educate the public in unique and creative ways. I’ve learned how to overcome fears and come out of my own shell by their example. By working with them I’ve come to understand that, laughter is always welcome, it’s ok to make mistakes, and that family and community matters.

So today I just felt like using my gift of writing to do something special for them. So that these staff members know how much I appreciate them. If they think that my work is great, well, it’s just a reflection of all I’ve witnessed volunteering with them.

As a volunteer, I have learned that so many virtues come to play. Like, patience, humbleness, and dedication. But to me, the greatest virtue you can give anyone is your love. Because that is the one thing we can’t get back and is truly free!

So remember the words of Winston Churchill, who said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

Thank you all for giving!

Rosa Younan

Dedicated to: Sean Shaffer, Liza Fischel, Bob Porter, Frank DeMartino


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