Tuesday, August 10, 2010
It’s the hottest part of the summer, and today, I was asked to write a few words for the Christmas cards! I had a hard time thinking about snow and long cold nights!
Since our own Tipi Press Printing office designs and prints the materials we need on campus, we have to give them some good lead time. They produce great materials from cards and notepads to newsletters and bookmarks.
But, I did feel like Santa Claus in another way.
St. Joseph’s makes several trips across the country each year for donor appreciation luncheons. Our students are very excited when they are selected to see a place they’ve never been and talk about their experience at St. Joseph’s.
Today, I lined up chaperones for future donor events. When I asked staff if they’d be willing to go, they got just as excited as the kids. Asking people to do something they’re tickled about felt like I was passing out presents.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Besides staff training and orientation, there is a blur of activity around campus. Time is given each day for teachers to work on setting up their classrooms, and houseparents to make sure everything in their homes is student ready.
Another by-product of the blur as everyone returns is a huge increase in the amount of work orders (RQs) our maintenance department has to handle. The facilities crew is scurrying about campus trying to fix and help. But, they also have to set priorities and know that hanging a bulletin board may need to take a backseat to fixing an old pipe that is leaking through to the ceiling tiles on the floor below.
As everyone comes together and there are competing demands for time and resources, tensions and stress can arise. Some days we all battle impatience and can have misunderstandings and personality clashes. It’s part of our human nature. We try to handle those as they arise, and be good models to the children we serve.
For me, it’s the quiet times of prayer and reflection that give me the strength to handle the stress and keep on the right path.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
This afternoon, I stopped at Central Receiving to say hello to Lucy, whom I met at Hope Lodge.
She dropped off a load of children’s bikes she had refurbished. Lucy caringly matched helmets that she thought would go with each of the bikes.
Since the houseparents are wearing a path to the door of Central to stock up on supplies for the new year, we left the bikes outside. In short order, they had all found new homes in one of our 19 homes on campus. They will surely already be in use Sunday afternoon when the students arrive!
At Central, Cathy and Glenda sort and organize all the donations that arrive on campus. Some come through the mail, while others come when friends load up their car or camper and drop them off when they visit campus. The work can be taxing over the summer months, but seeing the houseparents’ appreciation in finding so much of what they need in our own on campus “store” it makes it worth the effort.
Tonight, was our beginning of the year staff picnic at the pavilion on campus. The weather didn’t cooperate with us as the temperatures were in the high 90’s, which kept some of the crowd down.
Still, many spouses, children and relatives of staff joined us to break bread (at least hot dog buns) and share companionship. Besides working hard, there’s such value in just coming together for a shared meal and some fun.
At events like this, I visit all the picnic tables and say hello and get to know the families. My leg forced me to do that in much shorter time periods this evening. It’s actually easier for me to walk than stand around. I hadn’t seen some of the staff’s children for a year and hardly recognized them as they’ve changed so much! Getting to know families of our new staff is a special pleasure during events like this.
I enjoyed the evening and feel like we are already on our way to a successful school year!