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Volunteers and the school community

My family and I returned about an hour ago from a function at my daughter’s school. One of the parents (and a friend of ours) organized a Multicultural Potluck Dinner night – and what a success it was!

Like many schools in Ottawa, ours is home to families from a wide range of cultural backgrounds.  It was thought that it would be nice to present everyone with an opportunity to turn a dreary January evening into something a bit more special by having a potluck dinner reflective of their own particular background. The results was an enormous variety (and quantity) of scrumptious dishes from around the globe! Irish stew, spanakopita, Afghan rice, cabbage rolls, samosas, an Israeli apple and noodle dish, Somali chicken… you name it!

(For the record, I wanted to bring KD with chopped up hot dogs sprinkled with a generous helping of curry power – but the Resident Love Goddess nuked the idea.)


What always blows my minds about these cooperative volunteer efforts is the degree to which not only the main organizers dedicate themselves to the task at hand but how others put their shoulders to the wheel as well – without being asked.

Case in point this evening. I, along with a few others had indicated that we would stick around after the dinner to break down the tables, stash away the chairs, etc., etc. But we, in fact, didn’t need to work as nearly as hard as we expected because just about everyone – upon realising that the evening was coming to an end – pitched in. what would have taken more than an hour for 4 or 5 of us was accomplished in a fraction of the time. Carrying tables and chair back to their homes,  dodging kids who were chasing each other, packing away food and drink, picking up garbage… and all worked like a moving symphony. It was great to see.

But that’s the thing about a community, isn’t it? We don’t really need potluck dinners and School BBQ’s and Christmas concerts and book sales to come together as a school community. We do it anyways. But events like the one tonight give us the opportunity to openly celebrate our community – and its importance to we families who comprise it.

And what a great thing for me to write about instead of the shameful shenanigans of our so-called political “leaders”. Harper, Ignatieff and the rest could learn a thing or two from little functions like this… not a gram of cynicism, hyperbole or vitriol to be found; just a community coming together and sharing some good food.


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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Laura, John Marshall. John Marshall said: School communities are wonderful things! #ocdsb #education #volunteerism […]

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