Playground and Team Building


September 2012 marks the fourth annual 9/11 National Day of Service & Remembrance, which includes over 5,500 volunteers in the Greater DC area who take a day out of their busy schedules to help out at several local organizations. This past Friday, I had the opportunity to speak to some of these volunteers from IBM and Federal News Radio WTOP who came to Martha’s Table to give back to their community, and they had nothing but great things to say about their experiences.

I first spoke to Gene, a long time IBM employee, who told me he happened upon a note on the IBM website to help out this weekend, and was glad he did. He and a few others spent the morning drilling, hammering, and sweating in the 90 degree heat, building a bench for the children to sit on and “jump off of when playing their games,” he told me. Gene expressed that he was happy to help out, and would absolutely come back and volunteer with us again.

Maggie from FNR and Rubin from IBM had another difficult task at hand. Their assignment was to build a peace pole for the playground. Collectively, the best description we could come up with was “a play structure with peaceful poetry for the world in several languages.” Each of them expressed excitement about their project, the inspiration they felt, and agreed that they would love to come back to see the children enjoy the new playground and pursue further volunteer opportunities.

I then had the opportunity to speak with Michelle. She told me a bit about the foursquare and hopscotch she was painting with Robin on the pavement. As she painted, she told me the story of her aunt who had just passed away. She would have loved the work that was being done for this day of service. Michelle was so impressed with the size and operation program that she would not only come back to volunteer, but she would donate all her deceased aunt’s clothing to Martha’s Outfitters. Robin expressed similar interest, especially in the Outfitters. She excitedly told me about her clutch collection and that she couldn’t wait to go check out the store and add to her collection.

The last person I spoke to was Laura, the project manager at the Martha’s Table project and a representative from Greater DC Cares. She mentioned how rewarding these types of missions make volunteers feel, and she could see the rest of the team felt the same way. Laura could not have been more proud to be a member of this team and working with Greater DC Cares, “helping corporate groups give back and do good in their communities.”

Overall, it was a successful day of both playground and team building. Every volunteer seemed to walk a little taller on his or her way out the door, proud of what they accomplished and hopeful for the future of the community.