Thursday, April 29, 2010

The True Meaning of the Day

Shannon Williams of PMDC shares why she Lives United - and what she learned from her team's experience volunteering at Northwest Arkansas Head Start in Rogers. Shannon is an incredible volunteer who matches her level of interest and passion with excellent communication and hard work. We so appreciate her team's work on LIVE UNITED Day!

Two years ago I moved back into the NWA area. Since returning, I’ve been involved in many United Way events. I was born and raised in Madison County and take great pride in giving back to my community. As a child and teenager, I spent a lot of time with my Granny. She was a no-nonsense, hard work, good hearted woman who never met a stranger, and would give anyone the dress off her back if they needed it. After 40 years of life I continue to realize the importance of the values she taught me by her actions all those years ago.

On LIVE UNITED Day 2010, a team of folks from work volunteered at the NWA Head Start in Rogers. The day began with me worrying about if everyone would show, did I have enough t-shirts for the volunteers, and endless other stressful thoughts. As we arrived at the Head Start and work began, those inconsequential thoughts (which were earth-shattering a few hours earlier) melted away. I became entrenched in the task of creating a playground that would delight the children when they came out to play each day.

The true meaning of the day was made glaringly clear in one profound image. A little girl peering out the window at her new play ground, gleam in her eye and an innocent smile on her face. That small child was thrilled by what she saw. A new world was being built before her eyes; total strangers making a beautiful, colorful playground for her to enjoy. At that moment I knew my mission. It was more than painting a few picnic tables or creating drawings on the sidewalks. My mission was to teach this young girl the lesson that my
Granny taught me. Fill your heart with love, give selflessly to others, and be thankful for the opportunity to do so.

My Granny passed away in 1986 from Ovarian Cancer. I think of her often and hope that she is proud of the woman her lessons have created. I Live United to carry on the legacy of my Granny.

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