"I think it has made me want to do more of this kind of work because of the feeling I got from helping others."
Aftering learning about a fire that destroyed a local middle school's library, School counselor intern Lisa Pakrul, 44, of Spokane, WA, took it upon herself to get donations of books and equipment to restock the facility.
What kind of philanthropic or volunteer work did/do you do?
Lisa: After a fire destroyed the entire library at a local middle school, I went to every bookstore in town trying to get donations of books for the kids. [The fire] was an act of arson by two kids who were angry at the school. I emailed the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for help as well.
What is the name and location of the organization?
Lisa: Sacajawea Middle School in Spokane, WA.
Tell us about the project, especially who benefited from this work.
Lisa: All of the kids will benefit. They have lost everything, including all of their computers. I am contacting every organization I can think of for help.
What inspired you to get involved?
Lisa: I wanted to help, and I came up with the idea all on my own. I would have to say that my passion for wanting to help the kids was really what motivated me the most. I work with underprivileged and at-risk youth every day who are angry, lack self-esteem, bereaved, and lost. I am constantly looking for ways to help these kids every day.
How did you first get involved? Give us some details.
Lisa: The day after it happened, I heard about it from my supervisor, who had to attend a crisis team meeting right after the fire. I then went out on my own to try and get help.
What is/was the best thing about your experience?
Lisa: Seeing the look in the librarian's eyes when I brought five bags of books that were donated by a local bookstore here in town.
What is/was the hardest part?
Lisa: I would have to say, getting the funding has been the hardest.
What was the biggest surprise?
Lisa: How many books one local store donated to the cause.
What new things have you learned as a result of your experience and how have you changed as a result?
Lisa: How good it made me feel to be able to help the kids out in that way. I think it has made me want to do more of this kind of work because of the feeling I got from helping others.
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of getting involved in philanthropy or volunteering?
Lisa: Go for it!!! There's nothing better than being able to help a child.
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