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Volunteering

So I was doing reading for SMART (Start Making A Reader Today) at a nearby school from about November til last month, which is a lot of fun despite waking up early. It's been a few weeks since it stopped for the year, but apparently school is still going, I think. Anyway, I got an email from the supervisor for SMART at that school, for an opportunity to volunteer for this outdoor festival thing today (well, yesterday technically; Friday), being held by the PTA to raise money. So I signed up for the art table.

The place was HUGE. Held in the quite large playground/sports field area behind the school (an area taking up more square footage than the entire school itself, probably by twice as much), there were all kinds of games, a dunk tank, dancing, bouncy castles/bouncy slides, pony rides, food vendors, face painting, and more. Hundreds of people there, looked like a lot of fun. One of my two readers from SMART - the nicer of the two of them - came up to me twice to say hi to me. I didn't even see the other one. Though to be honest, I wouldn't have been able to pick either of them out of such a huge crowd. I, however, am rather distinctive; I probably stood out, especially in my bright pink dress.

Well the art table - once I found it after 15 minutes of asking around - turned out to be one person keeping a vague eye on "sidewalk paint" materials, and they told me they didn't need any help there, as it was such a mindless task. I got shuffled over to take tickets for the face painting, instead. This went well for a while; they had like, 5 different people painting the kids' faces. Then a bunch left, it was down to 2 painters, and the place was getting swamped. I was losing control of the line and getting frustrated by this; it's hard to maintain order when I can barely make myself be heard to begin with, I don't like raising my voice to kids anyway, and the noise level there was incredible. It finally got to the point that I decided to try my hand at face painting, and we'd take the tickets as people came up, since it was all at one table anyway.

Now, I wasn't sure how this would go. I am an artist, and while I can do my own stuff, I wasn't sure I could do someone else's designs. Luckily, they were fairly simple designs (like hearts and butterflies and stuff), and there were pictures of the designs right there, in full color photos. I did pretty well, actually. The biggest problems turned out to be not enough brushes, running out of red paint at my station, and wiggly kids. Also, a bunch of the kids wanted their lips done, too, and I had to be like, "No, that's unsanitary."

Was mildly annoyed by one parent's reaction to the hearts and stuff, which was to ask if there were designs "for boys," but instead of commenting back, I just pointed out all the designs, focusing on ones she might find acceptable for her son. But made up for that later with another boy when, after I gave my standard gender nondiscriminatory question of asking which design he wanted and giving a few examples (including hearts and flowers and butterflies), he asked for a blue heart on one side of his face, and some swirly lines on the other.

Anyway, fun as that was, I was also exhausted from the stress of having lost control of the line, and waiting around doing nothing before then. Plus the noise (both literal and empathic) didn't help, and it was also hot. Oh yeah, and I was hungry. Though I lucked out and was in the shade the whole time. Between that and the breeze, it was actually cooler there than it is in my apartment!

I just wish I had gotten up earlier so I could've wandered around and maybe played some games or something first. But oh well. Oh, and if I'd known they were going to have problems running out of paints, I might have taken my own face painting sticks with me. Would've solved the problem of not enough brushes, too, as you don't need brushes with the sticks. But again, oh well.

This was cross-posted from http://fayanora.dreamwidth.org/1311785.html
You can comment either here or there.

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