One of the great things about being a community organizer is that one gets to work with a community. That sounds stupid, but it isn’t as obvious as you might think.

A couple weeks ago, was Friday the 13th. Because Sarah and I have a strange sense of humor (well, I have a strange sense of humor; Sarah just likes Friday the 13th) we decided to have the drawing for our raffle fall on the same day that a lot of normal people like to hide under the sheets. But as it turns out, Sarah was right. Friday the 13th was pretty good luck for us.

On that “unlucky” day, we were able to give away our prizes to some amazing people who gave their money to our cause AND as icing on the cake, Bill Meyer, a volunteer who used to work with us, came back by surprise, out of the blue.

It’s telling that Bill would let us dress him up like a wizard and make him get in our video. He always was game to help out in any way he could. But you’d be surprised how much good luck I have had with all my volunteers over the years. Sarah, though it’s hard to believe it now, started as a volunteer giving up her time once a week.  (Yes, there was a time when Sarah was not part of our little community.)  Alison, a Ph.D. candidate at Cal comes in every Thursday and never complains when a class is empty. She just comes in.

There have been others. Ally and Sarah (we call her Sarah 2), they both have had to leave us because they started grad programs. If you go back before them, there was Priscilla who really helped us when we needed the help a couple years back. There were others. People who helped out for a few sessions; sometimes they only showed up once because they didn’t know what to expect or they weren’t up to the task.  We have also had help from non-teaching volunteers: Tim, Zak, Fidel, and Shane, your art work still lives on in our shirts and flyers and pamphlets and little films.

It’s not easy running a program on a shoestring. And that shoestring is getting stringier this year due to budget cuts. But the job is made a bit easier when you know you can count on your volunteers. As someone who works to organize community through education, volunteer staff helps hold us together. Aside from the students, they are my community. I am a lucky man, indeed.

And here’s a film to prove it: