JULY 2008

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Had another great Sunday out at Challenge Ranch, with a lot of great volunteers who worked hard and then enjoyed hot dogs and the pool!!


Here's our Volunteer San Diego group.  Chris, in the orange shirt, works for "Teradata."  He invited some of his co-workers and friends to come out and help today.  In the back row from left to right we have Dave, Tim, Thom, Lisa, Chris, Frank, and Alex.  Middle row is Anya and Nazila.  Kneeling in front are Lynn and Chris

Another great group of people helping out at the Ranch!!


We also had a great group of volunteers from the United Church of God.  Back row from left to right are Mark, Andrew, David, William, Joe and Lacee.  In the front are Stephanie, Mike, Jenn and Chris

They arrived an hour before us and were already at work when we arrived!!



This is Alex.  He and his wife started a non-profit called "Mind Treasures."  It's main goal is to provide Financial Literacy for Children, Youth, Individuals, Families and Small Businesses.

What caught my interest is that it teaches people to make good decisions with their money so that they can ultimately give back and help others.  It stresses the virtues of being Patient, Generous, Thankful, Selfless, Responsible and Moderate...something you don't see enough of these days.

You can check out the many programs available (beginning with kindergarteners) at their website, www.mindtreasures.com  




You measure yourself, by the people who measure themselves by you.

                                                                                                                    -The Bucket List




Is it possible to have a bad day at Friends of Cats?.....Nope.

I received an email from Volunteer San Diego, looking for somebody to cover the lead spot at "Friends of Cats"...the person who had been leading, was no longer available to cover the third Saturday of the month.  Lucky for me, I didn't have to work until the evening, so I jumped at the opportunity.

Check out this fantastic group of volunteers who showed up.

Justine, Dawn, Lisa, Tim, Kathleen and Paige.

You never know when you may find the King of the Jungle wandering the premises:)

Speaking of the King of the Jungle, check out this video..... http://youtube.com/watch?v=pNv2A4Kfx4k

A great example of why the volunteers think it's worthwhile to spend some time giving the many cats some affection.

For the last half hour, we all spent time in the "Cozy Cottage" petting the cats which are there for "lifetime" care.  It was like a giant Tea Party...they all came out to greet us.

On a side note, one of the volunteers, Justine, has agreed to be the new Team Leader!!

On an interesting note, it all began a few months ago when on a whim, I handed Justine my business card "Pay it Forward," after helping her with something. She happened to check out my website and decided to sign up with Volunteer San Diego.  I just happened to be filling in for the leader today and she showed up to volunteer, not even knowing my name nor that I would be there.  Now she's stepping in to take over.  

Once again, good karma...there's a reason for everything.



You know, the ancient Egyptians had a beautiful belief about death.  When their souls got to the entrance to heaven, the guards asked two questions.  Their answers determined whether they were able to enter or not.  

"Have you found joy in your life?"  

"Has your life brought joy to others?

                                                                                                                                     -The Bucket List



I just happened to come across another volunteer today!

This is Audrey.  I discovered her volunteering with the Blood Mobile for the American Red Cross.

She used to work for them.  For the past year she has been giving of her time freely, helping out when she can.

Audrey has also been volunteering with the American Cancer Society for the last 10 years, helping to organize and work at different events such as the Relay for Life.

Good for her!!!








This is Michal and his parents.  He's from Torrey Pines High.  His parents dropped him off to volunteer today. I noticed he's already done about a dozen projects with Volunteer San Diego!

I had a number of students helping today, but unfortunately I was unable to get a picture of them all together at the end of the event.

The gals were doing weeding and trimming, while the guys were installing light poles.  I'm sure the ladies kept looking over at us  in the "shade" figuring out how we were going to go about our task.  Well, our time in the sun eventually arrived, as you can see by the following pictures.

Almost looks like a reenactment of the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima.

I'm not exactly sure how tall these poles were, just that they were very heavy and hot!

Once again the task could not have been completed without all of the help of our great volunteers.




A coincidence is a small miracle where God chose to remain anonymous.
                                                                                                                     - Heidi Quade




I received the following email, just out of the blue this month....

Hi I'm from AZ and saw your site on TDC web page and was quite impressed.  I also am becoming a volunteer for I found out that I hate being behind a desk all day.  Coming this September I will be volunteering at a place called Hoses Help which is a Therapeutic riding stable and I will be going for my teaching certificate so I can teach these wonderful people.

I just thought I'd write you about this.  Oh yea I loved the Free Hugs video.


The interesting thing about the email was that I was feeling a little overwhelmed by my website at the time....I had just taken on a consulting position and had also been asked to take on a new project at my regular job, which looks as though it may increase my hours per week from 40 to 60 something.....added to that, my daughter just totaled her truck (she's okay) and I needed to get that situation resolved.  Needles to say, I began to wonder how much time I could devote to this endeavor.  

Hearing from Elaine helped revitalize me to the point I was able to get past all of the little stuff going on around me and keep me focused on my volunteering projects.  Thanks Elaine....by the way she has promised to send me some pictures to post on the site once she starts working at the stable.

I'm glad that my sharing what people are doing, helps to touch others.  No matter how small of a thing it is, you never know how it might benefit someone else....something as simple as a smile:)




A group of graduates, well established in their careers, were talking at a reunion and decided to go visit their old university professor, now retired.  

During their visit, the conversation turned to complaints about stress in their work and lives.  Offering his guests hot chocolate, the professor went into the kitchen and returned with a large pot of hot chocolate and an assortment of cups - porcelain, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite - telling them to help themselves to the hot chocolate.

When they all had a cup of hot chocolate in hand, the professor said: 

"Notice that all the nice looking, expensive cups were taken, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones.  While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress. 

The cup that you're drinking from adds nothing to the quality of the hot chocolate.  In most cases it is just more expensive and in some cases even hides what we drink. What all of you really wanted was hot chocolate, not the cup; but you consciously went for the best cups... And then you began eyeing each other's cups.

Now consider this: Life is the hot chocolate; your job, money and position in society are the cups.  They are just tools to hold and contain life.  The cup you have does not define, nor change the quality of life  you have.  Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the hot chocolate God has provided us.  God makes the hot chocolate, man chooses the cups. The happiest people don't have the best of everything.  They just make the best of everything that they have.  

Live simply.  Love generously.  Care deeply. Speak kindly. And enjoy your hot chocolate."




September  2008


Remember back in June when I met Agnes, the gal who had not been out of her house in seven years, and she walked down to Vons in order to buy groceries.

Well, here she is with her son Mark.  They came back into the store one morning when I was working there.

I was happy to hear that Agnes is getting out on a regular basis now.  Taking walks daily and going a little bit further each time!

It was great to meet her son Mark, who had heard the story from Agnes, about someone walking her home from the store and had remarked....."Sure mom."

Mark was very appreciative of my help and offered to pay me for the groceries I had purchased, but I figured we were all even after I received a little peck on the cheek from his mom:)



I received the following email this month.....


Jennifer, our 1st Junior high'er


Jennifer is our first child to reach Junior High. We were blessed to find space for her at a local private school, which gives her a lot of extra attention, instruction, and care.

Before school started she was nervous, wondering if she would get lost in the crowd or simply be able to keep up. But from day one we all knew this school was the perfect fit for her; and we love watching her thoroughly enjoy and take advantage of this new opportunity!

We thank God for provisions just like this -- the perfect school and the donor who made financing this education possible

Jennifer is one of the beautiful little gals at Grace Children's Home down in Tijuana.  The donor that the email refers to is my friend Jack, who has graced these pages many times.  As you can imagine, the cost for a years tuition is quite a bit of money.  Jack is to be commended once again!



I received the following pictures in an email yesterday....I guess they sort of speak for themselves.


Here's our monthly dose of Challenge Ranch pictures...

There were so many volunteers, I was never able to get them together for a group picture.  I was able to sneak in a few shots though, while they were listening to Jane, prior to taking off and starting their different duties.

Thanks to all of the men and women from the USS New Orleans, who made up the bulk of our group.




The company I am currently working for, "Community Catalysts," is in the process of opening a Coffee Cart in order to give some developmentally disabled adults an opportunity to help create a business of their own.

It's both an exciting and scary idea.  Exciting , because our consumers are going to play a major role in its development and implementation.....Scary, because I'm the job coach and I'm not a barista nor do I drink coffee.

But have no fear, Bertrand and Carrie to the rescue!

This is Jake on the left, a consumer, along with Carrie and Bertrand.

Carrie owns her own coffee cart and Bertrand is the manager of a Starbucks.  Both of them heard of our plight (the plight being I know nothing about making nor drinking coffee) and they volunteered one of their Saturdays to help us out, by providing training for us.  We all appreciated their enthusiasm and support.  This is what sharing and giving back is all about.

Thank you to both of them for their time and efforts!!!

The following Tuesday, we had a dry run of our "Community Coffee Creations."  We had a great day (other than when I burned myself on that little wand thingie that shoots out steam:)




October  2008


I was working with one of my consumers in Coronado, when I happened out to the parking lot and came across two gals, Lauren and Katie.

They are both 7th graders and they had ridden their bikes to the lot in order to pick up......cigarette butts!  Yep, cigarette butts.

They have been doing this now for a couple of years and they are wanting to start a website, "Smoking Your Lives Away."  Their slogan is "Throw away your butts or get a kick in the butt!"

What a couple of great kids!!

I didn't want to publish their pictures on the web without their parents permission.....if I do receive permission, I'll post a picture of these two great young adults.




There was a little bit of a mix-up at Challenge Ranch this month, but wouldn't you know that Pablo, who has volunteered a number of times, showed up with his daughter Ashley, who also has helped out on more than one occasion.

For those of you that don't remember, Pablo is a member of the Navy's Fleet Readiness Center, South/West Division.

Out protecting our country and still finds time to volunteer:)




That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet.

                                                                                             - Emily Dickinson




November 2008


Here's the latest Volunteer San Diego group at Challenge Ranch.

Jessie, Andrew, Matt, Kristin, Leticia and Natalie....oh yeah, and Kimba doing the sniffing.

They all braved the weather, which held up for us until we finished for the day!  Keep your fingers crossed for both Jessie and Matt, who should be hearing this month if they passed the bar exam....The interesting thing is that neither of them knew each other before our project today.  After talking, they realized they had both attended the same college and taken the bar exam on the same day.  That's what makes volunteering so much fun....the people you meet.

I wonder if I passed the bar exam?

Where did all of these weeds come from?

This here tree looks like it could use a haircut.

I wonder if I passed the bar exam?

When do we get to ride the horses?

I wonder if they passed the bar exam?




There were a number of volunteers out today trying to get some pit bulls adopted

Enjoy the pictures!!

Pi Bull Rescue San Diego is a volunteer run 503c non-profit organization.

Pit Bull Rescue San Diego is devoted to rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming pit bulls in San Diego area shelters, educating the public on responsible pet ownership, and advocating against the inhumane activity of dog fighting and the unethical practice of backyard breeding.

I always enjoy seeing people making an effort to help animals and taking the time to advocate for them.  Another great group of people!!!!!!

If you're interested, you can check out the website at http://www.pitbullrescuesandiego.com  They are looking for both adoptive and foster homes....below are a few pics of some of their cuties:)

China - Baja Animal Sanctuary

Wiggle Worm: Pit Bull











These are just a "few" of the many available.




"Dogs feel very strongly that they should always go with you in the car, in case the need should arise for them to bark violently at nothing right in your ear."
                                                                                                                                                          ~Dave Barry



It's that time of year again....to find out what these pictures may be about, you'll need to check back to December '07.






This is Anthony....I just handed him a gift card for having helped me with my car.  He's one of the service writers at Witt Lincoln Mercury.  My car was squealing like a stuck pig when I brought it in.  It had been acting up for months but I didn't have time to take it in, so I stopped by on a Thursday to see if they might be able to check it out that Saturday (my day off).

Rather than just telling me they were open Saturdays, Anthony checked under the hood and within 10 minutes had the problem resolved...no charge!  




I signed up through Volunteer San Diego to work up in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park doing trail maintenance.  I always love going up there, so it was a treat for me.  It turned out to be even more of a treat when I realized the group volunteering up there with me was from my former "service" fraternity at San Diego State!!

Alpha Phi Omega had just recently started up again, so I had a great time reminiscing.


Here's a picture of the great volunteers from SDSU along with volunteer "Dave" our leader for today.

Volunteering with us were Cathy and Brian.  Brian is from the El Cajon Animal Shelter.  He does a lot of volunteering at the park, because the volunteers up here spend time down at the shelter.  If you're interested in walking dogs, helping out at the shelter, or adopting an animal, you can contact Brian....the shelter is located at 1275 N. Marshall, El Cajon.


Section of trail "Before"

Thank goodness for chainsaws!

Section of trail "After"

Effects of the Cedar Fire.

New life.

This is a picture of a trail prior to volunteers clearing the way!

And here is why I love the park....




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