Spring cleaning = helping others

Do you spring clean?  Do you move the clutter around your house and wish you either had more storage space or a place to send some of your accumulated stuff.  I do!  Well, today I came across a great idea.  JMU’s Community Caregivers Network is a JMU and community partnership that provides respite help for caregivers struggling to care for loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease or other similar conditions.  Family and friends who care for these individuals go far beyond the norm for care and compassion.  Theirs is a job that is emotionally, psychologically and physically exhausting.  In fact, statistics reveal that caregivers are often the ones who give out first — yet their role is irreplaceable.  That’s where CCN comes in.  CCN volunteers step in to give caregivers breaks from the difficult task of caring for a suffering loved one. They visit with patients while caregivers have some time off to recharge.

So what does that have to do with spring cleaning?

Looking over the CCN site today — which you’ll find at http://www.socwork.jmu.edu/Caregivers/index.html — I noticed they have a wish list.  (It’s under “Giving to CCN.”) On the wish list are dozens of items I have lying around which I would love to donate — things like board games, crossword puzzles, card games, puzzles and white wash clothes.

And so, what does spring cleaning have to do with Be the Change?  Change comes in all sizes, shapes and dimensions.  Change BEGINS with taking that first step.  You may not be ready to head off to Iraq to help rebuild the country like Maj. Patrick Creed (’93) did. (See http://www.jmu.edu/bethechange/people/creed.shtml)  or you may not be ready to join the Peace Corps like MeMe McKee (’99) (See http://www.jmu.edu/bethechange/people/mcKee.shtml )

But are you willing to clean out your closet and donate what you don’t use anymore?  It’s a start.

Helping others with “stuff” is a long-standing tradition at Madison.  According L. Sean Crowley, author of James Madison University: An Annotated, Historical Timeline, 65 years ago this month students were doing just that.  Crowley writes: “During the month of April, there was a campus drive to collect usable clothing for the war­ ravaged populations of Europe. Drop­off locations were set up in the dormitories and sorority houses and it was hoped that over 1,000 articles of clothing would be donated. Faculty and students came very close to reaching this goal, giving over 800 items to the drive, including some 200 sweaters, 75 skirts, 27 coats, and 150 pairs of shoes and socks.”

Who thought?  Monopoly and Jenga or a pair of old jeans can help change someone’s life.  Be the Change!

You can start by cleaning out your closet!

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About James Madison University
This blog is about the people of James Madison University — a caring, committed and engaged community spread all over the world, making lives better and brighter, healthier and safer, kinder and bolder. As Gandhi suggested, we are taking steps to BE the CHANGE we wish to see in the world. And these are our stories....

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