Because college kids need even more excuses to drink, our local downtown bar and restaurant district (aka "Aggieville") hosts an annual "Fake Patty's Day" celebration held on the Saturday prior to St. Patrick's Day. The partying starts around 10:00am and goes on until who knows how early -or late- the next morning.
That next morning Jeremy and I went out to participate in "Sweep the 'Ville", a service project to clean up all the leftover garbage, put on by the college's Good Neighbor organization. (A group that tries to convince the permanent residents of our college town that not all college students are devoid of any feelings of responsibility, and some of us want to be considered a welcome part of the greater community.)
It was cold and had been rainy but we bundled up the boys in the double stroller and headed out with some garbage sacks to start cleaning up the refuse in the streets and alleys of Aggieville. We were not necessarily there to do service for the bars but the other businesses in the area like screen-printers, coffee shops, and an ice cream parlor that have to deal with garbage from the partying all day and night along their storefronts.
I was motivated to participate in the cleanup project this week when I read this month's visiting teaching message for the women of our church.
Elder Robert S. Wood of the Seventy: "For too many, responsibility seems to end with hand-wringing and exclamations of dismay. Yet talk without action accomplishes little. We need to be vigorously engaged in the world. If our schools are inadequate or destructive of moral values, we must work with fellow members of the community to bring about change. If our neighborhoods are unsafe or unhealthy, we must join with the civic-minded to devise solutions. If our cities and towns are polluted, not only with noxious gases but soul-destroying addictions and smut, we must labor to find legitimate ways to eliminate such filth. . . . We have the responsibility to be a blessing to others, to our nation, to the world"That really spoke to me, as a mother that gets scared thinking of sending my babies off to scary public schools, or a lot of other concerns I have about our country and the world. It made me realise that I need to work to do whatever is within my "sphere of influence" to better the communities I live in, the schools my children go to, and maybe even the Internet my family surfs on.
I may be tired. It may be cold and rainy. And with children in tow I may only be able to work for an hour before heading back inside. But I know it made a difference for us. We felt good about serving the community, and doing so helped us feel more a part of that community.