By Angelika Paul
Small actions make a big difference.
Hello – I’m Angelika, and I was invited onto the Board of Directors of the Friends of the Fells in January this year. I’m originally from New Zealand, but have lived in Stoneham for the last 10 years. I used to be the bouncy young woman that got things done, and had my fingers in lots of different pies (possibly to the annoyance of a few 😉 ). My neighborhood playground sucks? I’ll rebuild it. And did just that: with a couple of other awesome neighborhood moms we raised $50,000 in two years, organized piles and piles of events, got the whole community excited and involved, and held two highly successful build days where the playground was put together by local volunteers. You can see where it is on the map below. It’s quite pleasant – you should go visit.
So why am I writing about how small actions matter? Well, a couple of years ago I got sick with a couple of chronic degenerative illnesses. I now spend most of my time sleeping and doing a few basic things around the house and saying ouch because everything hurts.
I had dreams of creating a forest school where my children could learn and play in the Fells every day of the year until they went to college – they went to a Forest Kindergaten in Newburyport with Merrohawke Nature School, but I couldn’t do the drive anymore. I had dreams of being part of EVERYTHING and having nature courses for adults through children. And I was half convinced that I could run it all – “lol” as they say.
I’m still coming to terms with not doing all that with any sort of previous zest I had. However, I am helping much more energetic people make some of my pipe dreams come. The Friends is super lucky to have hired Youth Program Director, Sarah Maisonneuve, and have her overhaul the youth programs. I’m not doing it, but Sarah and all the other Board Members and gazillion of volunteers are. I’m watching and helping with small actions that hopefully make a difference.
My small action has been to help edit grant applications for FOF in the background – when I can focus enough to read.
My small action has been to pick up trash in the Fells – I got three things on a short hike that left me in bed for two days afterwards.
My small action is to write this post to encourage any and all volunteers out there to make a small difference whenever possible. Maybe there’s someone out there who can spare an hour and help in the FoF office (must be able to fold paper ;-))? an hour writing a blog post about anything going on in the Fells? sharing our website and Facebook page so more people know that we exist and want to make a big difference? Writing more grants (anyone?) so we can expand our educational experiences to reach more youth, and to provide for ecological, historical, and recreational programs in the Middlesex Fells. Or maybe donate a couple of dollars if you can and think what we do is important.
Small actions can make a big difference.
Thanks for reading! Angelika
Bigger volunteer opportunities when you get in touch: Volunteer Opportunities