I've been volunteering with the local Science Festival. Part of what I'm doing is driving around to schools to drop off promotional posters and cards.
When I moved here a few years ago, I knew I wasn't moving to the best part of town. It's a little section of town kind of cut off from other neighborhoods by crisscrossing freeways. Mostly residential. Lots of retired people. Very low household income averages, something like $27,000 a year. But I have always felt safe here.
The schools I was assigned to drive to were in the real bad parts of town. I mapped the directions from the first school to last. About halfway through the driving I realized I had not mapped the way home!!! A moment of alarm... But as I kept following my directions en route to the final school, I started to recognize things. I drove past the Home Depot I frequent and the FedEx store. My tour of the ghetto ended about 5 minutes away from my own house!
Yesterday, I passed a Boys and Girls Club between schools and did a u-turn to stop in. I was wearing my orange science festival shirt and had 2 posters in my hand when I walked in. I must have had a questioning look on my face, because before I even got within 20 feet of the reception desk the lady shouted out, "Yes, yes, we want those! I'm going to the festival." I went back to the car for more posters and a handful of save the date cards, and when I returned, she was talking to a couple of 7 or 8 year old girls about the festival and how neat it was going to be. I passed the posters and cards to the lady, smiled and left. I heard the girls squealing when they saw the colorful posters... "Oooh, cool! Can I have one?" The lady gave an almost instant, automatic "No", then realized I had given her multiples of the cards and changed the answer to yes and handed them out. The girls were very excited!
This non-profit volunteering stuff is actually kinda fun... =)