2 Years with OHAAT: 4 Things I’ve Learned That Might Surprise You
I started as OHAAT’s Program Coordinator for the Beds for Kids Program 2 years ago this September, and I’ve learned A LOT!
Bedlessness is a real issue: Before working for OHAAT I didn’t realize how many children (and adults) were without beds and other furniture that many of us take for granted. So many of the children we deliver to have been sleeping on floors, couches or in crowded beds with relatives for months or even years before we arrive.
We could not do what we do without volunteers: When I first started, I didn’t fully understand what a “volunteer-based organization” was. I quickly learned that it meant that volunteers are absolutely crucial to our organization. We could not do the work we do without the help of dozens and dozens of faithful volunteers. We ask A LOT of our volunteers and the amazing part is that they show up and do it every time. “Hey can you guys come unload mattresses at 6:45AM on Tuesday?” “Yep!” “How about making a 3-hour delivery in the rain?” “Sure, no problem!” I clearly underestimated the commitment of our amazing volunteers.
Thursdays are the best days ever: I look forward to Thursday all week long because Thursday is the day we call moms and dads and grandparents and guardians and let them know that we’re coming with beds for their kids! I never know what reaction I’m going to get, because it runs the gamut from screams of joy to tears of relief. Some families don’t realize that we provide sheets, blanket and a pillow as well. The reaction when they find out is priceless. Best. Day. Ever.
We have a LOT more work to do: When I started in 2014, we were scheduling about 7 deliveries a weekend, and I received a few phone calls each week asking for more information. Now we’re scheduling about 12 deliveries a week all over Greater Philadelphia, and our phone is ringing off the hook with people wanting to know more about our program. We’re growing exponentially, which at times means growing pains and some frantic emails for more volunteers, but most importantly it means more kids in Philadelphia in their own beds getting a great night’s sleep!
This post was written by Megan Weisser, OHAAT's Program Coordinator.