We are not artists. We are not painters. We are not professionals. We are volunteers. This week, the kind folks at Crossroad Child and Family Services learned that first hand.
We arrived on the 47 acre campus of Crossroad Child and Family Services on a beautiful Saturday morning. It was our first visit and introduction to this organization that is a treatment provider for emotionally troubled children in our area. The mission of Crossroad is to “create promising futures for children in difficult circumstances by providing therapy, education and family support services.” Founded in 1883, Crossroad has positively impacted the lives of children through residential, outpatient, home-based, and community services that value each child while creating strong families. The children who attend Crossroad find the help that they need, the healing they desire, and the hope they deserve.
After a short tour and brief history of the organization, we grabbed our pencils, flipped on the overhead projector, and began to trace images and quotes on the walls of a room in the Northland Education Building. This small meeting room was used for education and family visits. It needed some “sprucing up” and that was our goal. Once we traced the drawings onto the wall, we painted them to bring them to life. People often say that “you get what you pay for” and that could not have been more true on this occasion. As I mentioned above, we are not artists. We are not the Van Gogh family. We are the Browns and we make mistakes. Straight lines ended up a bit squiggly. Thin, nice looking letters ended up thick and oversized. Paint smeared and dripped down the wall. Proof that we are not professionals. We are, however, a family that cares. Each letter painted was done so with joy and laughter. We joked around and laughed as we completed the work. We enjoyed each other’s company as we often do while volunteering. In all, we drew and painted three different images/sayings on the walls. Though they were not perfect, they were done with love. I must say that in the end, they definitely helped bring the room together.
We were very happy to spend week 52 with Crossroad Child and Family Services. It was a great way to end the second year of our project. As with most experiences, this week was reminder that you do not have to change your life to change the life of another. You do not have to possess great skills or great knowledge. All you have to possess is the heart and the willingness to give up some of your time. We all can do it when we make the decision to do so. When we do, we help those who truly need a helping hand and we grow as people in return. I continue to be inspired by the giving spirit of my wife and my girls. They are an inspiration to me every week. I encourage you to get your family involved with organizations like Crossroad. It will change your perspective, your family dynamic, and your life. And remember, you do not have to be Van Gogh to paint for children.