Tuesday, May 04, 2010

What My Mother Taught Me

My mom taught me how to read. She taught me how to roller-skate. And how to make perfect spritz cookies (her secret? keep the dough chilled). She also taught me the value of volunteering.

It happened through Girl Scouts. In 1954, my mom joined a troop in the San Fernando Valley. When I was growing up, she'd tell me stories of her years as a Scout, which included her troop's visits to a boys' orphanage. They'd bring cookies or cupcakes and socialize with the boys.

In 1986, I became a Brownie Girl Scout in Orange County. For the next 12 years, I would learn as much in Scouting as I did in school.

  • As a camp cook, I learned that singing along with the Beastie Boys while stirring scrambled eggs makes them fluffier.
  • As a wheelchair tennis tournament ball girl, I learned the rules of tennis.
  • As a hospital Christmas caroler, I learned that enthusiasm matters more than pitch.
  • As a summer camp counselor to girls with developmental disabilities, I learned that everyone deserves a chance.
Everyone knows that in volunteering, you'll help others feel good about yourself. But here's the secret benefit: you'll have a blast and remember it for the rest of your life.

Volunteer San Diego can help you find the perfect service project.

Perhaps, one day, you'll be able to tell your daughter about the time you brought home-baked cupcakes to boys living in a makeshift home.

Happy Mother's Day! Leave a comment and tell us how your mother taught you the value of service.

Michelle Panik is a volunteer Blogger for Volunteer San Diego. She also has her own blogs at Stray Carrier Pigeon and Michelle Panik.

PHOTO CAPTION: Circa 1987, my mom helps my troop paint store windows as a fundraiser.

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