Moving Forward, Looking Back

Today is the first day of school in many area districts. As in January with the arrival of a new calendar year, so also is the new school year a time for both anticipation of things ahead, while at the same time ripe for reflection of the summer passed, and the school year that preceded it.
Pass It Along spent its summer…busy. Between Frisbee, Triathlon, and planning for Bike Tour, our event staff and volunteers were on their proverbial (well, sometimes actual) toes. Our field staff spent time playing softball with the residents in the SCARC programs on Tuesdays (when it wasn’t raining), out with good people at the Nature Conservancy expanding habitat and removing invasive species on Mondays, and in two area charity gardens three times per week…Not to mention the three Manna House Spaghetti Dinner dates, the Pet Shelter and Pet Therapy programs, and ongoing opportunities with the ConKerr Cancer crew. Oh, and who can forget Tilly’s Kids, which involved 20+ volunteers for 40 children, three times a week, too?  PHEW. I was thinking that maybe the summer would be a little more relaxed at the PIA office, but sadly, community need knows no holiday or vacation. It doesn’t take time off. So of course, our programming and our committed volunteers continued to serve, giving time and talent unselfishly while school (and many other institutions for that matter) took a summer break.
Our organization also experienced something sad in late August. Not only did the cool weather and summer rains harken what felt like an early start to fall, two of our AmeriCorps members, Kailey Denzer-Weiler and Alyssa Ciesla, finished their AmeriCorps service commitments and moved on to other employment and graduate school. While we wish them well at Rutgers University (both are attending!), we miss them greatly and hope they won’t forget about their PIA family just because they are now Master’s degree candidates.
Going forward though, there are good things on the horizon. Many good things, actually. LOTS of fall service opportunities, new relationships with area schools, and upcoming annual events are all things we are excited about. Bike Tour is in less than a week (weather forecast indicates it is going to be a great day for a ride, register here if interested!), to be quickly followed by our annual Youth Conference event at Sussex Tech on October 3rd, our fall installment of Box City October 18th-19th (an all-night homelessness awareness service event), and our participation in Make a Difference day on October 26th.  And did we mention that new AmeriCorps members are slated to start mid-month, too?
So, if there was any thought that maybe the fall would be a little calmer…!
No matter. There’s work to be done, and we are committed to continuing service to our local community. Here’s to hoping we will see you out there at one of our many upcoming events or programs…just in case it wasn’t clear…we could really use your help!

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