Thought Wheel

Ann Chiappetta

Reflections on the Volunteer Life

| Filed under writing

I have a busy volunteer life. Folks who don’t know me may not know this about me; I try to keep the commitments down to a manageable level, however, the volunteer in me often supersedes common sense. It all seems to work out in the end; I gain so much experience and insight when I take on a complicated project. There are, however, drawbacks, too. Being good at coordinating takes many different skills, most of them learned by trial and error and baptism by fire, to coin a meaningful and painful paring of phrases.


When I began volunteering it was to gain experience and connect with others in the social services and mental health field. I did network but I also became a more confident visually impaired professional because of itt.


Now it is years later and I think about the first few months observing the family court system and I now know I would not choose to work in that particular area. That is one of the most valuable aspects of volunteering and taking chances: one discovers what one wants and also what one doesn’t want.


When I began volunteering on behalf of the Westchester chapter of the American Council of the Blind of New York in 2010, it was with both hope and a bit of fear – I wanted to chip in and help out but I also didn’t want to take on too much and let others down if I couldn’t complete a task. It wasn’t the smoothest attempt by any means but I came away with the knowledge that when it was once again my turn to lead a group of volunteers, I would not treat them so unfairly and then expect them to perform well. Benefitting from good peer mentoring came later and the folks who have shown me to be a fair and confident leader are still in my life today and I let them know how much they’ve helped me along the way.


I received an award a few weeks ago for Advocate of the Year and in my acceptance speech I said that it takes a village to make an advocate that my training to become a good advocate and to push for change took many years to develop. I didn’t just wish for advocacy skills and – poof! – They became part of me. There were many hours and even years of growing pains, of being rejected, of being told no, and being faced with dismissive and disinterested attitudes. Sometimes, when I couldn’t get anywhere with someone, I’d hang up and cry, or, yell into my pillow, so angry I wanted to lash out. Fortunately, I would get control of myself and use the anger to push ahead in a more productive manner.


It was also easier to advocate for others, I had to push even harder for my needs, perhaps because it was for me, the most personal type of advocacy, the advocacy of and for self.

Why have I said all of this? Read on and it will make sense:

In two weeks our State convention will once again convene and will hopefully be a success thanks to the effort of a handful of volunteers, many whom I value as being the kind of folks who roll up the proverbial sleeves and get ‘er done. Months of planning, hours of hair pulling, pushing, phone calls, and budgeting have almost come to an end. I am very excited, I think our group has done our best and I believe the post convention let downs will be few and the accolades wil be many. I wanted to post this before I get even more bogged down with the last-minute crazies and thank the following folks: Mike, Becky & Ron, Maria, Rita & Jim, Liz and family, Angela and family, Cathy, Audrey, Rich L, and all those members of WCB who have helped along the way. Special thanks to Lori Scharff, Albert Rizzi, my spouse, my daughter and all those who donated prizes and time to help us for the convention. So many people have stepped up and this is the best part about being a volunteer: the pulling together and sharing to promote a good cause.









by Ann Chiappetta | tags : | 0

Doo-Doo and Other Observations

| Filed under Guide dogs writing

Doo-Doo and other Observations

Please note that there is a foul, four letter word in this post, and it doesn’t begin with the letter F. <grin>


Not sure what this rebellious attitude has to do with anything, but I found it very amusing and I think I will be recording it and adding it to my blog’s audio recordings.

On a related note, I think we have overcome the unformed waste issue that has plagued Bailey since class in March. I went through many online nutrition articles, visited the vets at Guiding Eyes, and read about grain free, raw, various proteins, and scanned and poured over a dozen different dry kibble formulas. I researched protein and fiber recommendations before deciding on a new diet for both Verona and my big, yellow boy.

I was impressed with Royal Cannon Labrador formula dry dog food, with chicken meal and twice the daily dose of fiber and lower calories per serving. . I began the switch a month ago and I must say I am happy with the results: formed poo. Mike Roe would be proud, lol. It has been a dirty job, for sure! Hehehehehe!

When this post came up on Facebook, I just couldn’t resist the loose (No pun intended) association. I know, I can be very droll.

How Shit Happens

In the Beginning was The Plan And then came the Assumptions

And the Assumptions were without form

And the Plan was completely without substance

And the darkness was upon the face of the Workers

And the Workers spoke amongst themselves, saying

“It is a crock of shit, and it stinketh. ”

And the Workers went unto their Supervisors and sayeth,

“It is a pail of dung and none may abide the odor thereof. ”

And the Supervisors went unto their Managers and sayeth unto them,

“It is a container of excrement and it is very strong, such that none may abide by it. ”

And the Managers went unto their Directors and sayeth,”It is a vessel of fertilizer, and none may abide its strength. ”

And the Directors spoke among themselves, saying one to another,

“It contains that which aids plant growth, and it is very strong. ”

And the Directors went unto the Vice Presidents and sayeth unto them,

“It promotes growth and is very powerful. ”

And the Vice Presidents went unto the President and sayeth unto him,

“This new Plan will actively promote the growth and efficiency of this Company, and in these Areas in particular. ”

And the President looked upon The Plan,And saw that it was good,

and The Plan became Policy.

And this is how Shit Happens.





by Ann Chiappetta | tags : | 0