Pot-A-Plant at Special Olympics
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“The garden must first be prepared in the soul first or else it will not flourish.” – Proverb from England
I was first introduced to Pot-A-Plant a year ago, when my Mom and I took a two-hour volunteer slot on the first day of the Summer Games Special Olympics. We enjoyed the event so much we ended up returning the following day with my brother Colby (who created this website and has his own blog about dog training and guide dogs). So, needless-to-say when this years Pot-A-Plant booth was reaching out to past volunteers I recruited almost my whole family and some friends. Plus, Deb joined us during our volunteer slot…a seasoned Pot-A-Plant volunteer to help us on our journey.
Pot-A-Plant is well organized and you don’t have to know about plants, so it was perfect for my family. I have to say, my favorite part of Pot-A-Plant this year was watching everyone’s interactions with the athletes. Last year I was touched by each unique athlete I got to help pot a 2″ plant into a 4″ container and thoroughly enjoyed each and every person that came to me to guide them. This time however, it was something completely different, since we had plenty of volunteers I had a chance to observe and see the ‘first-time’ Pot-A-Plant volunteers share in this experience. I felt lucky to see this side of my family that I don’t see on a regular basis. With all the road-rage, 40+ hour work weeks, economic crises, left behind people really show their softer side and I savored every moment! With my love for plants, love for people and need to help makes this event a venue that truly feeds my soul. Pot-A-Plant is not only Horticultural Therapy for the athletes, but is Horticultural Therapy for me!
I became a volunteer for Pot-A-Plant years ago, and have enjoyed every year I have participated. Each year holds its own unique experiences, but I always come with a full heart, and excited about the next year. I love encouraging new volunteers, (many who are friends I have invited to come), watching them light up after their first few interactions with participants, and then relaxing and becoming fully engaged in their volunteer experience. It is just plain fun!
During my break I walked around Long Beach State campus, and checked out the other booths (it is a carnival atmosphere) and the sporting events. I love to watch track and field. The participants determination as they run their race (much how they run their lives) is inspiring to all who are watching, and the excitement and thrill of event is contagious. The award ceremonies always bring a tear to my eye, as they joyfully receive the accolades of their accomplishment. There is a sense of community we often seem to miss these days in our fast paced technical world. Here you can just slow the pace down, and just breath in the goodness of the human spirit. It causes me to be reflective and appreciative of all I have. As busy as my schedule can get, I never feel that my time is wasted when I volunteer, and invest in the lives of others.
To see more pictures of Pot-A-Plant visit the Therapy Section of this website