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Written by Kathy Juana


Posted on September 05 2016

I seriously have had a hate love relationship with August. When I was in elementary school I hated the fact that I couldn’t celebrate my birthday with my classmates and that it was never recognized before school ended. Sigh.  However, I do love how warm August is and that celebrating your birthday is much better when you're out of school & can have a glass of wine or two in hand (not at the same time of course :) ).
This birthday I decided to switch it up a little bit, and I’ve decided to gift others with my time by volunteering around the city for a different cause each week. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still accept a gift, but being able to spend some extra time helping others out is going to be sweet. I found all my volunteering opportunities on New York Cares ( 
I couldn't take pictures at a lot of these volunteering projects, so sorry for not having any visuals.
Week 1: Mission Lane loves the kids, so my first week was dedicated to volunteering at a local elementary school in Chelsea. I spent 1 1/2 hours on a Friday afternoon, reading about Clifford the big red dog and playing connect four, which I got pretty petty about because my kid was cheating, and I swear I was winning, but either way it was fun. I was a dedicated team leader to New York Cares, to a similar project at a women and children shelter, but once my project closed, I decided to take some time off and figure out if there were other projects I wanted to dedicate my time to.
Week 2:  Not sure if this could be my dedicated weekly project, only because of the hours, but I had so much fun with this project. Growing up my mom always took us to serve dinner at the local soup kitchen and this not only brought back tons of memories, but also reminded me as to why we should continue to count our blessings. I prepared and served breakfast to the homeless men and women at St. Bartholomew's Church, at 6am on a Monday morning, and YES I still had to go to work right after, but honestly it gave me a lot more pep in my step. Not only were the people I volunteered with fun to talk to, guess what happened when I got off the subway walking to work? A $10 bill on the ground!, like it just fell from the sky. I treated myself to Pinkberry that evening. #blessingsonblessingsonblessings
 Week 3: This was my first time doing a project like this. I actually never heard of Achilles International ( and never volunteered with the disabled before, so I wasn't sure what I was signing up for. I met a group of volunteers in Central Park, and we were partnered with an athlete with a disability to run, walk, or jog with them. You know I was all about that walking. I was partnered with a young man who not only had me cracking up the entire time, but I couldn't keep up with him. Within a few minutes of walking I was mentally complaining about my leg cramping etc., meanwhile this guy has a permanent injury to his leg and I was trying to hold it together. That put everything into perspective for me and I pulled myself together. 
Week 4: Due to my work schedule I had to cancel my week 4 project, but it's scheduled for the 1st week in September. I will be back at the Covenant House to help young men and women prepare for interviewing for a job. I love what Covenant House is all about and especially this program. I wrote about my experience before in an earlier blog, so be sure to check it out.
Overall, this was a great experience for me and I'm happy that I decided to try new projects that I probably would've by passed. 
Mission Lane



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