Earlier this year, I helped plant a garden. It wasn’t very big-just 200 square feet in all. We got a late start, so even with the help of organic mulch and fertilizers, the garden didn’t produce an abundant yield of anything other than zucchini. The tomatoes were stunted by cool, cloudy weather; the cucumbers and beans shriveled on the vine; and the peppers refused to grow. But the vegetables weren’t all that important. What we were really growing was hope.
You see, the garden was part of a larger makeover project at a home for abused, neglected and at-risk teen girls. Spearheaded by a nonprofit organization called Enchanted Makeovers (founded by my sister-in-law), the endeavor brought together dozens of volunteers and more than 200 corporate and individual donors who each had the same purpose: To show the girls living at the shelter that they are worthy of love, beauty and a bright future. The project recently culminated in a stunning transformation of the dorm’s hallway and 11 bedrooms, and I was privileged to be there when the final touches were revealed. I will never forget the expressions of wonder and tears of joy on the girls’ faces when they saw their freshly painted, beautifully decorated rooms and all of the gifts that had been lovingly created and donated for each of them. It was a heartrending moment for me and the other volunteers who witnessed it.
What does this story have to do with surveying and mapping? Absolutely nothing. But it embodies the spirit that transcends every profession and connects us all as human beings. I’m reminded of this spirit every time I read about anyone getting involved in a completely selfless endeavor-whether it’s donating time and services for a large project through organizations such as Engineering Ministries International or KnowledgeWell, or individual acts of kindness like those highlighted in this week’sSurveying in the Headlines. As we reach out a hand to assist others, so often we’re the ones who are lifted up.
As I celebrate Thanksgiving this week, I am incredibly thankful to have been a part of this journey of giving. I know that many of you are involved in similar journeys of your own. Please consider sharing your story below.
I wish all of you many blessings this Thanksgiving and during the holiday season."