We all have the ability to make a difference in our communities, regardless of our skillset or availability. It is crucial for those of us that are fortunate and have the ability to donate our time and/or resources to help those in need.
On July 27, 2014, Ryan Baker and I joined a team of Hillsboro Hops players and Arizona Diamondbacks executives and front office employees with tools and the goal to provide improvements two four of Albertina Kerr’s group homes in Hillsboro.
Albertina Kerr is a long-standing charity in Portland, Ore., that provides programs and services to children and adults with developmental disabilities and mental health challenges to help and empower them to live richer lives.
Ryan and I each served as team leaders, guiding and coordinating the work of the other volunteers. When my group first entered the backyard of one of the homes, we were met with an interesting sight — large holes were scattered across the lawn. It turned out that one of the clients at this particular facility found digging to be a coping mechanism… so we built a sandbox to fill this need.
In addition to the sandbox, we also built picnic tables, raised planter beds, a porch swing (which four excited teenagers happily gave a live load test), two tetherball poles and window planters over the span of four hours. Since a majority of the volunteers had no previous experience in design or construction, Baker and I shared our experience and we were able to help lead the teams. It only took half a workday to positively impact and improve many lives and seeing the direct effects of our hard work was very rewarding.
Not only do I look forward to assisting Albertina Kerr in the future, but I encourage others to do the same for this fantastic organization that is making a positive difference in our community.