Week 156 was upon us. The last week of service for year 3 of this project was planned. Saturday was going to be an awesome and busy day for our family. In addition to volunteering with the Downtown Improvement District on the Spring Trolley tour, the girls had events happening all over the city. The schedule was full and the day was set. And then I saw the tweet.
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society of Indiana needed volunteers for the upcoming Walk MS in Fort Wayne. My brother tagged us in the tweet hoping that we could retweet it and share it with our network. He knew that we already had plans for the day, but he wanted to see if we could spread the word. When I saw the tweet, I was concerned. It was Thursday morning and they still needed volunteers for the walk that was happening on Saturday. I felt like we needed to do something. Yes, we could have retweeted it and shared it with our followers. However, there was no guarantee that anyone would respond and the organization would be no better off. We needed to do more to ensure that their needs were met. I responded to the tweet asking for more information. Over the next few hours a large number of tweets went back and forth as I worked to see what we could do. After learning that the biggest need was first thing in the morning, we made the decision to change our schedule and squeeze it into our day. Saturday just became busier and week 156 was going to be outstanding. We were ending year 3 with a bang!
We arrived at Headwater’s park early on Saturday morning for our shift with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. The Indiana Chapter of NMSS works to improve the quality of life for people affected by Multiple Sclerosis in Indiana and northwestern Kentucky and raise funds for critical MS research. So what is MS? Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. It is a disease that affects approximately 400,000 in the United States. Walk MS connects people living with multiple sclerosis and those who care about them. The funds raised at this event give hope to everyone impacted by MS.
We helped set up the coffee and snack station, put tablecloths on tables, and worked at the registration table. We welcomed teams and individuals to the event, collected money, and handed out t-shirts. It was busy and it was obvious that we were needed. There weren’t enough people to cover registration so MSS staff and board members had to help out. We are so glad that we were able to make it work. We had a great time. It was awesome to learn more about the MS Society and the work that they do. The staff was wonderful. We felt very appreciated while we were with them. I want to thank my brother for sending that tweet. It gave us the opportunity to serve with an incredible organization with incredible people. I would encourage you to learn more about the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Indiana and get involved. Let’s ensure that next year’s Walk MS has plenty of volunteers to make the event stress free and successful.
After a quick run to Starbucks for coffee and lemon pound cake (MaKenna’s favorite), we headed to the offices of the Downtown Improvement District. The DID partners with the city of Fort Wayne and a wide-variety of nonprofit, public, and private sector organizations to make downtown Fort Wayne a more attractive place to live, work, shop, and do business. It’s mission is to create a strong, economically vibrant core of Northeast Indiana through beautification efforts, special events, and business development. It was time for the Spring Trolley tour and we were ready to be trolley docents.
The Spring Trolley tour gave individuals the opportunity to park their cars and ride the trolley between multiple downtown locations for fun, food, and a great day supporting local businesses. It also connected many events that were happening in the downtown area. Our role as trolley docents was to welcome people on to the trolley and announce the happenings at each of the nine stops the trolley made around the city. “Next stop, Parkview Field, home of Fort Wayne Tincaps. You can shop the gift shop today for your favorite Johnny Tincap merchandise.” You get the picture. It was like being the conductor on the Polar Express. “Next stop, the North Pole!” We also had the opportunity to talk with patrons about the fifty new sculptural bike racks that were placed around the city. It was a great afternoon in beautiful downtown Fort Wayne.
The Downtown Improvement District is amazing. We love the people. We love their work. We love their events. If you live in the Fort Wayne area, you have probably attended one of their events. If you haven’t, what are you waiting for? Go. Enjoy downtown. It is growing and thriving. Maybe you can volunteer too. It is an easy way to get involved in making our city a better place to live!
We had an unbelievable day serving with these two awesome organizations. The day was busy and tiresome, but looking back on it, we would not change it for anything. It was a great way to end our third year of service. It would have been easy to make excuses and say that “we were too busy” to take on the second volunteer activity. We refuse to use that excuse. We hope that you will too!