Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Why Do I Do This?

I had more help this year than any previous year of The Shakespeare Club.

Parents arrived with food and snacks. A mom set up our Shakespeare Club museum, an array of photo collages from years past. Another mom organized the T-shirts. Another three or four fought our on-site charter school, which suddenly decided to stage a concert the night before our performances, which would have undone our lighting and sound preparations.

I was exceedingly grateful for the assistance and cognizant that the outpour was the direct result of my screaming my head off that if this school community wanted this program to continue, they had to stop taking it for granted and start protecting it.

I was musing on all the advancements, all the sturm und drang, all of the six years that had passed since I came up with this crazy idea of little kids exploring the works of the Bard.

I pushed a broom across the stage, thinking about this stuff and wondering: Why did I ever do this? Why do I continue doing this?

The auditorium was near empty and oddly quiet after so much hustle and bustle. The next day, twenty-four kids would perform and crew "A Midsummer Night's Dream" four times. The next day, hundreds of kids would get turned on to Shakespeare by seeing their fellow students act hilarious under shiny lights.

Okay, here it is: my top three reasons for volunteering countless hours to steer kids into an Elizabethan bliss:

    3. My wish as a child was to be heard...and so, these kids are heard.

    2. My wish as a child was to have power...and so, these kids are empowered.

    1. I'm vain, and doing this makes me believe I'm young.

So, if you're considering volunteering your time to work with kids in any capacity — to read one-on-one, to build a birdhouse, to play a game of catch, to do anything — pay attention to my number-one reason....It works and it's true, because the work is a font of new cells.

If I was Lysander I would pack my weapons a sword, a shield and a spear. I would also pack something to drink just in case I get thirsty. I would use the animals as food, I would especially kill lions for there hair and make it as a coat. I would make my house out of love apples and make my bed out of wood. The left over wood I would use to make a garage.
—Mark, 5th grade

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