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Service Learning: The Value of Time

We all have very busy lives. Family commitments, work, kids’ schedules; personally, I can hardly keep up sometimes! With all that we have on our plates, how can we possibly fit in volunteering our time?

This is the question I would ask myself for many years. The answer was always, “well, I can’t;” and instead I would make a donation to a charitable organization. I felt like a pretty good human – I did my part, and then I would move along with my very busy life. Of course contributing financially is important and necessary, but what I didn’t realize (probably because I was busy being so busy) was that giving my time would change not only my experience, but also my children’s experience.

Krissy was recently One Mission’s Volunteer Spotlight on Facebook

Several years ago, I began working with the organization One Mission based in Framingham. One Mission works with Boston Children’s Hospital and supports families whose children are going through cancer treatment. They do whatever they can to help these children and parents through the most difficult time of their lives. They provide things like parking passes, gift cards, and decorations for hospital rooms. They organize activities in the hospital such as ice cream parties, lunches, and special family outings. They make the time that children and families need to be in the hospital, as comfortable as possible.

A close friend of mine from high school is the managing director of One Mission, and a few years ago we began a partnership with the NMS Year 3 (Y3) Student Council. We now work together with the third year students in Primary, Lower Elementary, and Upper Elementary to make and deliver Wish Boxes to Children’s Hospital. A Wish Box is a small, decorative tin with mini papers and a mini pencil where kids can write their wishes, dreams, desires, ambitions, concerns, or burdens. The first “wish” in each box is a message from the volunteer.

Students from Y3 Student Council make Wish Boxes for kids at Children's Hospital

It was also during this partnership that I learned about One Mission’s biggest event, the Buzz Off! The Buzz Off happens every June at Gillette Stadium. Men, women, children, and even teenage girls have their heads shaved all in the name of raising money for One Mission. I began volunteering at this event along with my husband and children, and it has been such a positive experience for all of us.

The Goulding family, who have children in Lower Elementary (Bryce) and Upper Elementary (Ethan), have participated in the Buzz Off for the past three years. They are currently working to raise money, and both boys will have their heads shaved for the third year in a row!

Krissy Canastar, NMS Drama Specialist and Diversity Coordinator, poses with NMS family, the Gouldings at the One Mission “Buzz Off for Kids with Cancer”

I talked with the boys about this experience, and this is what they had to say:

Ethan: “I learned that you are definitely not alone when you have cancer! There are so many people waiting in line to have their heads shaved; it’s crazy! It’s great for the people who have cancer to see the sheer number of people. And we know that the money we raise helps. Helping is never going to bring you down. Helping will always bring you up!”

Bryce: “It was surprising for me the first time and a little overwhelming! They raise so much money for people. It’s just better to help when people are sick. It taught me that one person doesn’t make the difference, it’s the group effort!”

Ethan and Bryce are just over halfway to their goal of raising $750 for this year’s Buzz Off.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to volunteer with your children, I can promise you this: nothing will resonate more with a child than being part of something that is bigger than themselves. For my children, bearing witness to the sacrifices of others to benefit those in need will always remain with them. It is truly awe inspiring to see. It’s exciting, it’s emotional, and it’s so rewarding. Please consider joining the NMS crew at the Buzz Off on June 3rd!

On Sunday, June 3, we invite you to join with other NMS families in service as we support One Mission's annual Buzz Off event at Gillette Stadium. NMS volunteers age 8 and older are invited to work a shift at the Post Buzz Bash—where all of the Buzzees and their families go after they shave their heads. The Post Buzz Bash is basically a huge celebration with games, face painting, live music, and food and beverage sampling. NMS volunteers will congratulate and celebrate the Buzzees, help with the games, keep the area clean, etc. One Mission has specified that volunteers for this event need to be age 8 or older. No younger children or siblings, please. To participate as a volunteer, please SIGN UP here. There are two shifts available: 9:30–11:00 or 11:00–12:30. When signing up, you will select which shift you are going to work. If you can't volunteer, but want to participate as a "Buzzee" (raising money and getting your head shaved on June 3), learn how at the Buzz Off website.

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