Saturday, January 3, 2009

Simple Help in the Park

One of the questions this project raises is, "How difficult is it to lend a hand?" What counts as a charitable deed? Today's deeds aren't earth-shattering, but if everyone were to do JUST THIS MUCH, would it change our world?

Today the whole family visited Santa Barbara's Natural History Museum together, then headed up the road to Rocky Nook Park. This nature park is a beautiful spot for tree climbing, rock scrambling, trail walking, mountain biking, horseback riding, picnicking and exploring the modern play structure. For some reason, even in beautiful locations people tend to drop their trash on the ground rather than take a few steps to hit the garbage can.

The project:
While swinging, climbing, and walking with the family, I picked up trash and deposited it in any of the multitude of trash receptacles scattered throughout the park.

While walking the trails, I spotted a woman trying to get photos of her family. Her husband and children were in the shot, but there was nowhere to prop her little camera so she could include herself. I saw her looking for a camera perch, so I walked the 20 feet to where she stood and offered to snap the photo.Picking up trash at the park. Lending a hand with a family photo.

5-10 minutes

Why bother:
Trashy parks make for less-relaxing visits. And family photos too often exclude one member.

Worth it?
Picking up trash always seems worth it, except the thought that the party in the nearby picnic area had trash spread under and around their tables. Would they pick it up or leave it to blow into the play area and trails for others to pick up? I decided not to go with that negative line of thought, and do my part anyhow.

Taking the photo was a cinch, and completely worth it when the family saw their image on the screen and the thankful mother/photographer gave me a heartfelt thank you with a big, warm smile.
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In other news, community service is beginning to provide a direct payoff for service-minded youths. See this story for inspiration.

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