Tracey Walsh: A life of service
I grew up in a family that believed in service to others, and I could not wait to be old enough to volunteer. My father was the executive director of the Easter Seal Society in Sacramento.
When I turned 10, I was able to volunteer as a part of the age 10-13 club working in the preschool with severely challenged students. When I turned 16, I joined the Candy Stripers at the local Children’s Hospital. My mom was a teacher so I helped in her classroom. I was offered many ways to serve as a young one growing up … service was a part of our family.
Years later, when I was working full-time as a school principal with 500 children by day and my four sweeties at home, service became what I could include my children in as they grew. Often, young women reflect that they wish they could have some of the experience I have been fortunate enough to have and I tell them, “soon it will be your time.”
Some of my service work throughout the years included teaching Sunday school, managing many soccer teams, serving as the co-director of our Methodist Church Camp in Half Moon Bay, with 100 kids camping in the redwoods for a week each summer. I spent eight summers serving as a counselor for Sierra Service Project where we took high school students to live and work facilitating construction projects on a Native Reservation for a week each summer.
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I took nine trips to Guatemala as a volunteer with Rotaplast International and Faces of Hope, as a non-medical volunteer, photojournalist and team support. We worked with the gracious and beautiful indigenous population of Guatemala. For nine years I traveled the world in support to the International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers. These travels took us to Brazil, Japan, Nepal, Europe, Sweden, and many places within the U.S. as well. We traveled to the homelands of the grandmothers with a prayer of peace and wellness for our planet and all of its beings.
After moving to Grass Valley six years ago, I have found many wonderful organizations to volunteer for: Sierra Harvest, SYRCL, Hospice of the Foothills and serving on an Elder’s Council, and who knows what wondrous opportunities await! That is one of the amazing things about our beautiful Sierra foothills community … there are so many ways to serve each other.
One of my favorite quotes is:
Do all of the Good you can
By all the Means you can
In all the Ways you can.
— John Wesley
I look forward to joining the United Way and California CareForce volunteer team in January, helping bring medical, dental and vision care to those who need it the most. If you are interested in volunteering, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.uwnc.org.
Tracey Walsh lives in Nevada County.
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