I'm not sure how much I got across in the interview, but the gist of it was this: I spent years working with organizations to address their mission, leadership, fundraising, staffing and strategy issues. I still do some of that as a board member of The Playwrights' Center, and it draws upon my skills and experience as a business owner and a consultant to major corporations and non-profits.
The other part of my work—the part the writer was most interested in—is more like being a grandpa, except for kids I probably will never see after this year.
How do you explain this in a way that makes it seem valuable to society?
Coincidentally, the three threads all came together today. Interview in the morning, preschool at the shelter in the afternoon, followed by a meeting with a fellow board member.
As I've described before, I arrive at People Serving People as the children are finishing lunch. My main contribution to western civilization for the next two hours will be helping two to five preschoolers settle down for a nap.
Today I drew a restless girl who had already filled both her hands with liquid soap during an unsupervised moment of post-meal handwashing. She was quiet but fidgety, and we tried the usual back rubs, head rubs and foot rubs. Next, I put my hand on her cot, and she grabbed my arm and used my knuckles as a sort of kali hahapo headrest. But that didn't work either.
Finally, with all the others long asleep, I rested my head next to hers. She looked over, threw her arm around my neck, and konked out in about 10 seconds.
They don't teach this sort of thing in Harvard Business School.
Now free to move about, I considered the next problem. Before I arrived, the kids made and decorated crowns—sort of a yellow construction paper version of a wrestler's head gear—that they would be allowed to wear when they awoke at 2:30. I had missed the activity but figured I could make up ground by applying my prodigious book arts skills. The available scrap paper suggested something more mouselike.
I'm not sure what pressing social problem is addressed by a red mouse headband. The answer may not be discovered in our time.
After my meeting about issues to which serious people are supposed to devote their time, I cycled home along Third Street. Up ahead, I saw a family of five crossing the street and spotted one of the yellow crowns. A few hours before, I'd been doing mock ballet lifts with the wearer.
The Public Library lies a few blocks away but not much else is along that stretch of downtown.
I don't know where my little friend was heading.
I could only take some satisfaction from seeing that she still wore her golden crown.