Week Six: Finishing up and starting a(new)

Project: Love Letters for the Elderly and Bureau of Education and Services for the Blind

Actual Time Taken: 30 minutes

 This week I made two realizations. One- I’m not technically behind on blogs. I can’t very well write about what I’ve done during the week before it’s over, now can I? So now I’m writing in retrospect– such as this week- since it’s currently Week 7,  I’ll write about Week 6. So now I won’t be so hard on myself for being ‘behind‘ anymore. (See my resolutions post on being nicer to myself in 2014)

Secondly, I realized that without proper motivation (i.e. money) I probably wouldn’t get close to the goal of 500 Valentines Day cards for the senior citizens with Meals on Wheels program in the greater Honolulu area. So after posting posters to entice my 100+ person cast to help out with the cause, I upped my ante (literally) and offered a reward for the most cards made and a random raffle that everyone who made a card would be entered into.

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Apparently, that did the trick.

By the end of the week, we were pushing 250 cards, and more were being made daily. On Sunday, our little cubs counted up the cards and found out that our grand total was 330 cards! Amazing!!!

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Unfortunately, making the incentive posters only took about 15 minutes, and I was feeling a bit run down, so I didn’t take too much time to make more cards. (I told you I would be honest about falling short of my hour goal every week!) To try make up for that lost time, I started on my next project, which is for the Bureau of Education and Services for the Blind.

This is a program I signed up for years ago when I was touring in the north east, but never got a chance to actually volunteer for them. They offer many services, such as interpreting for and reading to the blind. I randomly received an email newsletter a few weeks ago and realized it was perfect for this my mission this year!

I wrote to them about possibly helping out while I’m traveling and they wrote back with the perfect project for me. I will order a book (or get it from the library) that they choose and transcribe it into a Word document. It’s usually a children’s book, so it’s not too lengthy. After I send them the book in Word format, they feed it though a program that will turn it into braille form.

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So I guess I’ll be reading/typing this book for a few weeks…

I ordered the book off of Amazon (another 15 minutes worth of work) and expected it to come early next week. We’ll see how fast Two Day service can get to Hawaii…

I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t make my whole hour of service this week, but I am simply going to use that as motivation for next week. After all….

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Week Three: Child labor for the Elderly?

Project: Love Letters for the Elderly

Actual Time Taken: One Hour

This week, my volunteering hour is relying on child labor.

Well, sorta.

See, I found myself running out of time in my first week here in Hawaii. It’s our opening six days at the Neil Blaisdell Center in downtown Honolulu and we have nine shows to perform, counting the dress rehearsal. Not that I have anything to complain about, working in paradise and all, but the usual “first-week-in-a-city” errands and my lack of housing were eating up all of my free time this week.

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The “errands” in this city included TWO separate blessing ceremonies. *bliss*

So I scoured the interwebs on Friday for a volunteering project I could do from my computer while sitting backstage between scenes. (We have four shows between Saturday and Sunday, so essentially I spend all weekend on or off stage in the theater.)

I found some good leads, but the one that both piqued my interest and was time sensitive was the Letters of Love campaign from a website called www.dosomething.org.

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This project focuses on making Valentines Day cards for elderly people in need. The website directs you to create three or more anonymous Valentines Day cards and send them to your local Meals on Wheels location. The cards should include three facts about yourself such as what your hobbies include, (so I would say dance) what your dream job is, (my current one, dancing in the Lion King! Easy! But for anonymity’s sake, I said hosting a show on TV, another dream of mine!) and what state your from (hard for me to answer right now, since I’m on tour full time…. So I just said Florida, where I grew up).

I was planning out what I wanted my cards to say when the thought occurred to me that we have kids sitting backstage during the show that need fun things to do too, so I approached our cubs (our young Nala and Simba actors) for some help. We have two sets of cubs, and they alternate every other show. So while one set of cubs is performing, the other sits backstage during the first act just in case something happens and they need to take their counterparts place on stage.

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Nya and Jordan helping with the cause!

Since I’m busy performing the majority of the show, I dropped some craft supplies off in the kids’ dressing room at the top of the show on Saturday and joined them during our 15-minute intermissions to make cards. During the rest of the show, while I was changing in and out of costumes, they continued to happily craft away without me.

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Nate and Zyasia helped out in costume too!

By Sunday night, the kids were so into it that one of them had created a chart to document how many they had made. They had a lofty goal of 165, and although they were determined, we topped out at 35 and called it a weekend. They were so excited by the project, however, that they were disappointed when I said I had to send them in this week to make sure that the program received them in time to distribute them all. However, to me, this simply means that I have their interest for other projects, like sending letters to service men, or doing my laundry. 

Ooook, maybe not my laundry….

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Success!