Day of Caring sheds light on what really matters

Waking up at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, I’m not going to lie, I really didn’t feel like volunteering. But I pulled myself out of bed, washed up, ate some breakfast and headed down to the Hammermill Center for Gannon University’s Day of Caring.

After the introduction in the gym, my group and I headed over to City Hall’s Rain Garden, conveniently located right across the Hammermill on Peach Street, right in front of the parking lot to the police station.

An older woman, Chris, pulled up and unloaded the tools that we would be using to clean up the garden. Wiping the sleep from my eyes, I began to clean up the path. None of us had gloves and within several minutes, I had cut my finger pretty badly on a piece of broken glass.

“What a day,” I thought, cleaning the cut out in the bathroom in Waldron. Once I got back to the garden, several other older women showed up and Chris told us they were members of the Garden Club.

The ladies in the Garden Club clean up areas all across the city since most don’t have regular people tending to them.

As I got back to work, I realized just how much work goes into gardening. I have several potted plants in my apartment and all I do is water them so I’m no gardening pro. But the women of the Garden Club helped and taught me what needed to be done.

We started pruning the butterfly bushes and using a small saw, I even got to cut off some of the really thick branches. I became known as the Saw Girl.

Despite being cold and tired, I have to say the day really turned around. Even though my arms hurt from sawing, the sun started to peak out from the gray clouds and it turned into a nice day to garden.

Taking a break, I looked around and the Garden Club members were still tirelessly working. Watching women with grandchildren weed, prune, trim plants, rake, sweep and clean up the messes really inspired me. And I even learned a thing or two about gardening.

Despite my feelings about the day waking up, by the time I left I felt really lucky that I got to meet this great group of ladies. They even invited us to come back and garden with them, and since I’m here for the summer, I’m seriously considering it.

Even though I was the one who volunteered, I felt like I benefitted the most from it. I’m glad I was able to help out the Garden Club and every time I pass the Rain Garden, I will feel a little sense of pride knowing that I was a part of the clean-up.

It was a nice way to wrap up my junior year. And as summer approaches, I truly want to thank the readers of my column for sticking with me through this journey.

I feel lucky that people have read my writings, both in print and online. I’m dedicating my last column to all of you and the women of the Garden Club for making me appreciate life just a little bit more.

 

SAMMIE JANIK

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