Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Volunteering at TERI one last time

Thanks to Stephen's avid desire to ride a horse, last Saturday, March 5, 2011, all our family had a wonderful experience.

In the past, Catherine, Gerard, and Warren have been doing an extraordinary amount of volunteer work.The twins were only 6 years old when they started. The three of them have been very actively volunteering with our Parish and with Kids Korps / Teen Korps. Back in the 2005/2006 school year, they were top volunteers with Kids Korps. They have been repeatedly featured in the local media, with a total of fifteen stories in the Rancho Santa Fe Review and four on-site interviews by different T.V. channels. Yet, all that had been primarily before 2008. Although still volunteering from time to time in parochial outreach activities and although the twins kept on being altar servers, since Thomas and Nicholas' homecoming, the main thrust of their helping efforts shifted for all three of them to the physical, spiritual, emotional, and academic needs of their younger brothers. There were  no RSF Review articles, no counting of volunteer hours, no Presidential Awards, no photographs, no outside recognition of any kind. It was an even much more generous, much more devoted, much more selfless kind of volunteering, done within the walls of our home, without getting anything in return--nothing to use later on for college admission or curriculum vitae purposes.

When Stephen started asking about riding a horse, and insisting upon it, I found the courage to send an e-mail that since we had decided to move to RI I had been planning to write but had never gotten myself to even start. It didn't seem fair to me that after such extensive community service in the past the twins would not be able to any of that for college admission--only because they were too young then, and everywhere applicants are advised not to provide any information about activities done before their high school years.

Even if only for a couple of times, Warren and Gerard wanted to go back to KidsKorps / TeensKorps before leaving California. Stephen was literally desperate to ride a horse. Back last August, during my first trip, he had already asked me whether once at home I'd allow him to ride a horse. I picked up the courage to e-mail Robin Chappelow, Kids Korps' regional director, asking her if before moving out of state the whole family could participate in a couple of projects, and if the twins could write one more story for the RSF Review. I felt a little awkward about asking instead of waiting to be asked--but Robin was delighted to hear back from us, to know how well Catherine, Gerard, and Warren are doing, and to learn about dreams come true. I'm talking about dreams that move, feel, think, and love. She knew about Thomas and Nicholas, but not about Stephen yet. Somehow she had not received our Christmas card last December, and before that, my e-mail announcing the adoption had apparently ended up in her spam folder.

As already said, over the last three years my three older ones had kept on volunteering from time to time in parochial outreach efforts--but for me, volunteering again all together as a family (and now as a much larger family) gave me a wonderful, comforting inner feeling that is difficult to explain. During all that time I had been too busy, too overwhelmed, almost enslaved by paperwork that kept on piling up and which I was finding myself unable to deal with. At TERI I felt invaded again by that awesome feeling I used to be overcome with when volunteering together as a family in the past. I was never attached to California---but for the first time, that day at TERI I felt some regrets about putting that part of our lives behind.

Stephen, the one who had been dreaming about horse riding for I don't know how long, when actually on the horse was initially really scared--but very soon started enjoying it. It tends to be scary to find onself on a high  place---and it must be much worse for someone who has no sensitivity on his legs and cannot use them to keep his balance. Yet, soon he'd be radiant on the horse. The "thumbs-up" picture is eloquent enough.

 Thomas and Nicholas had the time of their lives on the horse. Please see the pix.

God bless everyone-and I'll let the pix finish this post for me.

1 comment:

Christine said...

I am so glad the kids got to have fun with the horses! I say it's therapy to be with animals!


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