BY KATHY JO SCHWEITZER
After spending my lifetime as a high school and college teacher, club advisor, truancy mediator, nurse aide, photographer, mentor, mother, caregiver, grandparent, and a variety of other things, I finally understood how all of these different interests were connected.
I’ve always enjoyed organizing and writing, which allowed me to create lesson plans and programs while working with kids and adults. In all of these endeavors, I have believed assistance to others could easily be given without much fuss or expense — and that by helping others we can also help ourselves.
In mid-2015, after 26 years of Kiwanis leadership, committee work and service, I decided to move on by planning something new. From this, an efficient program evolved, which found ways to accommodate any person or organization, quickly supplying them with specific needs. SIMPLE GESTURES was born with a teacher’s mentality of high expectations, knowing much work must be done in order to make it a success. Five years later, the program is thriving due to the assistance of 84 generous contributors who have donated over 13,500 items in and around the community.
SIMPLE GESTURES was created to keep others in our thoughts as a year-round priority while understanding that it is not a big deal, or takes a lot of time or money to help someone. Plus, it is an easy opportunity for every single person to organize, repurpose, recycle, and possibly share good used/not wanted items from our own homes. It also only takes only a few minutes while shopping to pick up inexpensive items that would be useful to someone else.
The program does not donate or collect money, have meetings, pay dues, expect contributors to do anything difficult or excessively time-consuming, or make unreasonable requests.
The program works very SIMPLY! You read about the program via email, and let me know if you wish to be added to the list of possible contributors. When a simple gesture is prepared, I will email or snail mail a missive explaining what items are needed, plus the due date which is usually 10 days or so.
The contributors decide if they wish to participate. If they choose to, they may drop-off items anytime to my garage on Perry Street. The contributors decide how many items they wish to donate.
Those who choose to become SIMPLE GESTURES contributors quickly learn they are real participants by not only helping others, but also by being part of the process. It is my job as the organizer of SG to update the contributors, research new possibilities, make appropriate contacts, collect, sort, box and make arrangements for delivery of all items as quickly as possible in the name of SIMPLE GESTURES.
It is during this time, when I clearly realize that it only takes one SIMPLE idea to open-up the hearts and minds of so many wonderful people, allowing them to be part of something so small, yet quite helpful. The contributors of SIMPLE GESTURES cannot be thanked enough!
To learn more about SIMPLE GESTURES email MSKJS10@gmail.com to receive a detailed description of the program. Anyone wishing to do something for the community is welcome.