Monthly Archives: January 2014

MLK Day of Service, A Day ON, Not OFF

              MLK Day could not have gone better!  We all had so much to do but worked so hard, together, that we got it finished in just under five hours.  MLK Day is not a day for relaxing at home- but for helping others who are not fortunate enough to be able to help themselves.

              This year we traveled to Newark and painted the middle school wing with clouds and uplifting murals/quotes. The colors on the walls will not only make the children smile but will brighten their day when walking through the usually dreary-looking hallways of Louise A. Spencer school. 

              Before anybody got to painting we made over 150 kindness cards for the students and teachers.  Basically, what we would do, is take a piece of construction paper and cut it into fours.  Then, on each card we would write something kind or inspiring.  When we were all finished with the card decorating and creating we would put one on each desk of all the open class rooms.

              The previously white and dull walls are now filled with life and beautiful images.  My personal favorite is a huge picture of Martin Luther King with different colors flowing from his mouth.  With how much that picture symbolizes I feel like I could stare at it for hours.

              We had so many volunteers with such great artistic talent.  Everybody had wonderful spirit and fantastic work ethic.  Nobody was without a task and every piece had hands on it until it was fully finished.

              MLK Day is a terrific experience and showed us all how much we have to be grateful for.


Dani Dellamo, Pass It Along VolunteerImage

Special Olympics..A GOLDEN time!

              SCARC Bowling is, personally, one of my favorite events.  So, I was especially excited when the Special Olympics came around!  Getting to spend my entire day with these genuinely wonderful people was something I had been looking forward to for some time now.  Not only did I see familiar faces but I also met new friends and more athletes during both the morning and afternoon sessions.   It was not only assisting the bowlers that made it such a great time; but watching them receive their medals brought a smile to everyone’s face.  Their joy of getting an accolade was contagious and spread through the entire room.  Volunteers and family members were taking pictures as the athletes waved to their many adoring fans. 

              One athlete, Marilyn, was a lady I will never forget.  She had such a fantastic outlook on the entire day.  Before she could bowl, she would take the ball and give it a little pep talk- just to make sure it was ready for its turn!  She told each bowling ball how much of a “good boy” it was and proceeded to count down from three so it wasn’t caught off guard when being thrown.

              Many athletes came up and introduced themselves to start conversation.  They were all so kind!  One gentleman kept telling me jokes throughout the day, such as: “What did the raisins do before they got married?  Go on Dates!”  I also learned quite a bit about Kenny Rogers from another Special Olympics participant.  

              By the end of the day my new friend and athlete sat down together and shared some bread sticks from Pizza Hut with a few other friendly faces. 

              Throughout the nine hours that I spent at the Special Olympics I did not get bored even once.  There was always something to do and I never ran out of determination to help make that day amazing for each bowler.  Whether it’s cheering, hanging banners or just having a conversation, the whole day was filled with all that you would expect- and more!

Dani Dellamo, Pass It Along Volunteer

SCARC Bowling, A STRIKE everytime!!

Each Saturday I’m fortunate enough to be able to attend an event called SCARC Bowling lead by Tina Newfeild. This experience is equally satisfying for the volunteers as it is the bowlers. I consider myself lucky to be there each weekend.
This program enables disabled adults to come bowling in a safe environment at Sparta Lanes with multiple volunteers to cheer them on and guide them throughout the game. The support the volunteers bring puts such a smile on everyone’s face. Not only can you easily make their day but they will also make yours. Their spirit during the game is unbelievable and their skill level is beyond impressive. They bowl higher scores than I ever could!
Many bowlers will remember you week to week and look for familiar faces when they come back. It’s so great knowing that what you do actually does have an effect on them all. Personally I try my hardest to introduce myself to them all which is wonderful when they remember you next week.  There’s one man that comes up to me every time he sees me and says “Dani, I care about you”.  It is so touching to hear that from him without fail each time he shows up.
Some of these bowlers are practicing hard for next week’s tournament. The Special Olympics are coming up and they’re so excited. I may be just as eager as they are for this Saturday!
There’s nothing not to adore about the program. My entire week I look forward to waking up and going to Sparta Lanes instead of a friend’s house or wherever else I could be.
Thinking about all my experiences there is making me smile just while writing this. This program is truly one that I could not explain in words. You are absolutely missing out on such a wonderful and beautiful experience if you aren’t attending SCARC Bowling.


-Dani Dellamo, Pass It Along Volunteer 

Season of Ho-ho-hope!

Volunteers don’t get paid, not because they’re worthless, but because they’re priceless. -Sherry Anderson
The best part about volunteering is seeing everybody you help glisten with joy. Nothing can begin to compare to the feeling you have when you see that wonderful smile of gratitude on the recipient’s face (and, you can’t help but smile too!).   
         When volunteering for Pass It Along’s Season of Hope Holiday Toy Shop through Project Self Sufficiency, I got to meet each person I did something for.  In my opinion, there was absolutely no way to better this project. It was perfect. The atmosphere was spectacular, and I felt so welcomed and at ease while walking through the toy shop assisting the many shoppers.  Every toy imaginable was on display and every person went home with presents for their children to unwrap on Christmas morning.  Whether they are from Mom and Dad or Santa Clause up at the North Pole, more children will be waking up to gifts underneath the tree and smiling because of this event. 
I was shocked by the amount of people that were shopping with us on Saturday.  I had no idea there were this many families in need of help this holiday season.  A majority of the shoppers had just come off of a full day job, doing all they could to keep their families financially afloat. They were exhausted, but unable to rest.  I had such an amazing feeling in me while volunteering.  This was by far the most impressive project I have ever participated in.  If I had the chance to, I would have stayed all night.   
Although these people do not have much, they are still giving!  I met a wonderful man while attending to the participants.  He had a thirteen year old daughter, who was at home babysitting a two year old instead of attending the toy shop.  She had made a point to tell her dad that out of the four presents allotted to her she wished for him to use one on the young boy.  That was by far the sweetest thing I’ve heard.  It made me tear up thinking about how little they have and how they are STILL giving!  Another person I helped was a lady with six children.  She was beyond grateful for all the gifts she was leaving with for her children.  She was so kind and could not thank me enough for walking around with her and making sure she got everything she needed.  Everyone I helped had such a terrific attitude. They were all ecstatic to be able to give their children gifts on Christmas.  These people were the nicest you will ever meet. There was no way you could leave the place without a smile on your face.
Something as simple as donating a toy can do something so massive for another family.  Some people who are luckier than others to have more don’t always understand how much they can do.  The one toy that you donate could be the first thing on a little girls letter to Santa.  My experience today was mind-blowing and is something I will never forget. I am already looking forward to next year.
-Dani Dellamo, Pass It Along Volunteer