Have you ever had to weed for hours, clean windows, sweep steps, organize closets, scrub sinks, and pick up cigarette butts? We all have, at different points, done one or more of these but, how about doing all of the above so that a couple have the wedding of their dreams at a neighborhood arts & community center? Now that’s something special.
That’s what I did last weekend, how about you?
Last Saturday my colleagues, our dean, our Seattle Alumni Chapter lead, a few of our graduate students and I volunteered for Seattle Work’s Day, an annual day of volunteerism and giving back to the Seattle community. Seattle Works Day is organized by Seattle Works, a local non-profit aimed at getting young professionals more involved in volunteerism and community leadership. They put together a day each year where companies from Microsoft to us at Northeastern University – Seattle are dispatched, in teams, to job sites around the city. There are dozens of these sites and hundreds of volunteers, this adds up to a massive level of community assistance all in a single afternoon.
My team was tasked with cleaning the exterior and premise of the Fremont Abbey, an arts & community center in the Fremont neighborhood. The Abbey was brimming with people when we arrived, a women’s creativity symposium, a dance recital, and an afternoon wedding were all happening that day.
We did all the above-mentioned jobs and had the Abbey looking spic and span within a few hours. As we were removing our gloves and admiring our work, a car pulled up alongside us and out marched none other than the bride-to-be!
We were too excited to contain ourselves and were quickly congratulating her and wishing her the best, while trying to be mindful of her pearl white dress- we were working in the dirt for a few hours, after all. She was kind enough to let us snap a group photo of her, even though we were dirt-covered and complete strangers.
Afterwards, we said our goodbyes, were thanked by the Abbey’s custodian, John, and headed to the after party which had a full taco bar and an IPA on tap that was brewed just for Seattle Work’s 25th Anniversary, courtesy of local, women-owned Stoup Brewing. There were games of oversized Jenga, photo booth (with requisite silly birthday party props), heated matches of badminton and a DJ all there keeping spirits high.
Most importantly, beyond the fun and the nuptials, was the positive feeling jump-started in each of us by volunteering. It made work we would otherwise dread a really fulfilling activity and certainly helped strengthen the bonds within our group. I’m grateful to be part of a university that would sponsor an opportunity like this that both provided an chance to bond together as colleagues and students, but also a way for all of us to get out into the community and help make Seattle a better place. This feeling that will be at the forefront of my mind next year when I’m putting my name on the list for Seattle Works Day.
Many thanks to Team Northeastern-Seattle: Aatish, Anne Maria, Cathy, Claire, Connor, Gina, Oma, Priyanka, Sam, Tayloe, and Yiqi for volunteering!