One of my favorite volunteer projects to organize with Circle K is a “rake and run.” We borrow the school van and drive around Westerville looking for random front yards still covered with leaves. I’ve been told some Circle K clubs rake the leaves when no one is home and then leave a note at the door. We like to ask the homeowners for permission first, but most are extremely grateful for the offer. Typically there is a reason the yard hasn’t been taken care of – perhaps they are elderly, living alone, very busy or have something else holding them back.
Part of the reason I like rake and runs so much is the instant feedback and gratitude from those you are helping. It generates such a genuine response. Let’s face it, how often does someone knock on your door and ask to do a few hours of yard work free of charge? We are not interested in donations, delivering a message or handing out literature. It is just a random act of kindness, helping out a stranger, no strings attached. The women we met this week probably thanked us ten times. There were four of us working and it took about an hour and a half to finish the front yard. Meaning it would have taken this woman living alone at least six hours to finish the job on her own, maybe more.
Another gratifying part of this project is the effect is has on the students volunteering. I took three sophomore with me who have been involved with Circle K since last year. There was a moment where one girl stopped, looked at me, and said, “I’m glad I don’t have to do this alone.” It was really powerful, because I think she realized the impact of her actions on someone else. It was also a great reminder of why we choose to serve others.
You don’t have to be a volunteer extraordinaire to rake leaves. It’s easy, but sometimes a simple good deed can be really meaningful.