Enote 134                                                      December 8, 2017

A Letter From Doug

Dear Friends,

If you have ever wondered about spending some time helping others, this letter from our TRep coordinator Doug Offenhartz is for you. It tells you what is waiting for you. I read it with delight and envy. Delight that we have such a fine volunteer working on our behalf, and envy that I could not return to enjoy similar pleasures again.

"After a delightful weekend hiking with Shibo in Taiwan, I arrived in Bangkok on Monday, October 30. For the first few days, while establishing my Bangkok routines and adjusting to this hot and dirty city, I asked myself “What am I doing here?” My life in America is hard to leave for four months. The following Monday, Daruna and I embarked on our first visit with our students and my question was immediately answered—I thoroughly enjoy spending time with these kids.

I thought that might be a good question to answer in this letter, because many friends have the mistaken idea that I’m here teaching English. That is a small part of what I do, but it’s a very small part and it happens more incidentally than intentionally.

The easy answer is that I help the Brackett Foundation give scholarships to our forty continuing students, review their biannual essays and grade reports, and in January and February, Daruna and I will review another group of applications, interview about 15-20 students and recommend scholarships for about ten new students.

The harder answer to explain is the mentoring that happens. I am very fortunate to have had several older men who helped me find my way through my late teens and twenties, a time in our lives when we are coming to terms with adulthood and making decisions about career, lifestyle, and values. Sometimes that simply means “being me,” sharing myself being open to my students. Often it means giving encouragement, as they face challenges I never had to worry about. It’s always letting them know that I care about them. Everything I do flows from that."

This is by no means all of Doug's letter, in fact it is less than half. He goes on to write about visiting classes of his student-teachers, reviewing student essays, visiting families, taking some out to lunch, attending graduation ceremonies, and so on. But notice he says everything he does flows from his care about them. Engagement, fun, joy, gratitude and care, that's what awaits you.

Doug with Daruna and a Student
Daruna, Doug, and student-teacher Nancy
Horizontal Rule

Remember your day is not complete until you have done someone a favor.

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Best Wishes to all,