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Brigid Fox | Brevard, NC

My mom was a teacher, so growing up, I learned that when it came to school, always say yes to donations, and always say yes to volunteers.  Let the question of what to do with the donation or person answer itself.

The words “yes, and…” (a great improv tool) have become a welcome assist for me as it is an opening to new possibilities, rather than a defensive or singular path.  It comes naturally to me when I am speaking to someone who is expressing interest in being a volunteer at Mountain Sun.

I currently have several very committed volunteers in my classroom. They are part of the village that is helping to educate our children. They bring skills and passions that are different than those I offer. They relate to the students in ways that expose the children to a community of kind and helpful adults.  The children count on their presence and shout “Hooray!” when we announce the person coming in. Years pass, and I hear reminders about what Ms. Phyllis says about raising hands, or what Ms. Sharon says about folding paper exactly, or about Ms. Donna’s smile.

Each volunteer is irreplaceable. I am not sure they come to our class with the intention to be the catalyst or the one who leads the pivot as a child transitions into an understanding, but I imagine that is their hope. And it happens. It happens more than we even know.

It is as much a gift to be able to give time and wisdom to an organization as it is to be able to receive that person’s time and efforts. This is the beautiful balance that the phrase “yes, and…” can bring us to. A mutually rewarding experience, a symbiotic relationship, reciprocity. I can be my best only when you are being your best (to borrow words from MLK jr.).

I see so many causes, so many hurts, and so many people that I want to help, and I find myself overwhelmed. Being mom and breadwinner has left me a little short on time, talents, and treasure. I do however take opportunities where I can. I look forward to my own “retirement” so that I can give more freely.  In the meantime, I am hoping that an open and positive view of my personal gifts will add to our community in a way that gets it ready for when I can give back.

I think of all of the volunteers that make our school as rich as it is – field trip drivers, TAG planners, room painters, movers, science advisors, board members, artists, actors, musicians, retired teachers, and the list goes on, and on, and on – and am grateful to be part of a community school where the answer to “I would like to volunteer,” is “yes, and…”

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