Good People Are All Around

1This post is by Joe Stephens

I’m so tired I can barely think straight, so I hope this make sense. But the reason I’m so tired is what I want to talk about. I spent today at my school’s fall blood drive. I usually just help with these events, but the person who normally supervises them is in Texas right now, having witnessed the debacle that was the WVU-TCU football game. So, with the help of a few folks that covered my classes and a couple others who came and worked when they could, I was the shepherd of the Student sleeping, bed, covers, pillows, arm, handCouncil blood drive committee. It was a long but satisfying day.

It started with us getting tables and chairs and putting out refreshments to finish setting up the gym where the drive would take place. Much of that had been done by my good friend Michelle Swisher the night before. Michelle also covered most of my classes so I could work in the gym all day. Soon after, the Red Cross van arrived and the kids jumped in hauling boxes and crates with no prompting whatever. The Red Cross folks pointed out where to put things and the kids did all the heavy lifting without a cross word.

Once the drive started, donors were greeted by students who checked them in. Once each donation was complete, other students escorted donors from the donation area to the canteen, where they handed them off to still other volunteers who got them drinks and snacks and watched over them to make sure no one had any ill effects from giving blood. There were also people carrying the donated blood from the donor tables to the area where it was cataloged and stored.

Throughout the day, when something needed done, I was never short of more than one volunteer. They sought out custodians, delivered items to the office, fetched drinks–whatever needed done. And always with a smile.

At the end of the day, it was all done in reverse. Refill the truck, take the tables and chairs back, and clean up the canteen. And again, not a word of complaint from anyone. In fact, almost every single one of the students thanked me for helping them. Sometimes it’s easy to generalize and say today’s teenagers are self-absorbed, shallow brats. But anyone who says that just needs to come to one of these events and they’ll see it’s just not true. These kids make me confident that we’re not in as bad a shape as a lot of people think in this country.

So, to all you kids in the Parkersburg High School Student Council, here’s to you. I’m proud of you and I’m sure your other teachers are too.

Joe Stephens is a teacher at Parkersburg High School. He is also the author of Harsh Prey, Kisses and Lies, and the recently released In the Shadow, all of which are available in paperback and Kindle formats. The paperback may be purchased from Createspace, Amazon, and most online booksellers. In the real world, you may purchase from J & M Used Book Store in Parkersburg and from the author’s trunk.

ITS Cover ArtCheck out his newest book on Amazon

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19 thoughts on “Good People Are All Around

  1. Great subject and very hopeful. I think, like weeds rising above the good vegetation, problematic individuals are more noticeable, and of course get better press, than all the good, behind-the-scenes type of individuals. Sometimes I wonder how well a newspaper that’s just full of great feats and positive achieving people would fly. Would we be bored?
    Glad you had such a great day and could share it with us.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve given blood a few times, and always feel great satisfaction afterward. In the ’70s, I even served on a county Red Cross board, overseeing publicity and taking minutes of their meetings. The Swisher you mentioned in your post… is she related to the Major Baseball Swishers, including Steve Swisher who went to Ohio University and played on the baseball team when I was an OU student in the early ’70s. I do believe Swisher’s son Nick played for the Indians for a while.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t think so, though, interestingly enough, Steve is from Parkersburg. I actually had both his sons in class. Nick was in my speech class. He has played for the A’s, Yankees, Indians, and Braves.


  3. I am constantly amazed by how much kids these days participate in fundraisers or donate their time for a good cause. I honestly don’t know if it’s more competitive these days to get into colleges so they feel they have no choice but to participate or if it’s because the local paper likes to report on these selfless teens. All I know is it makes me smile and gives me hope for our future. Great post, Joe.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As a teacher and sponsor of organizations, I can tell you that there’s definitely an element of just that–joining just so they can list it on a college application. But the kids on this committee were not those kids. Every single one pitched in, some staying way past the end of the day to help clean up.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve never thought teens were self absorbed, just bored or had no direction. This group sounds liek winners. They are lucky so many people admire and cheer for them. Doris

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is a real tribute to those kids who don’t get all the publicity, who will become stalwart citizens of our communities, who have good values and ideals and someone to mentor them. They are definitely students to be proud of. I’ve long believed that those who have problems and wreak havoc in our society go unnoticed, have issues they can’t resolve on their own, perhaps no one to talk to, but most of all live in a world that promotes violence and sex in video games, television, magazines and movies. I don’t necessarily think they are bad kids, just those with no direction who need to be heard and use the only means they can think of, or copycat to get the attention and help they crave. This post is wonderful, Joe, and gives us hope for our future generations in a time of turmoil. All kids aren’t bad! I’ve reblogged this on my website so others can enjoy something uplifting for a change. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. That was a very worthwhile cause indeed, Joe, and I can easily see why you’re exhausted. Being overall organiser means on the spot decisions and constant scanning of the areas involved to make sure it’s all ticking over. The responsibility of proper handling of the ‘blood products’ is a serious business these days as well. Well done to all involved. I’m not sure if anything like that is done in our acadmies/ high schools. Donating blood is definitely done regularly at nominated centres for the population in general but it’s a great idea to take the enterprise into schools. I was always regarded as too anaemic to donate blood for decades, though I tried.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We have blood donation centers as well, but the majority of donations in the US seem to take place at drives put on by schools and organizations. They also have trucks they call bloodmobiles, which are great huge recreational vehicles tricked out to be portable donations centers. People seem more willing to give if Red Cross comes to them than the other way around.


  7. I hope you shared this with your students, not only would they like knowing they were appreciated, it may encourage them to read and write blogs. You were good to volunteer. We used to depend a lot on volunteers in The Salvation Army. Sounds like you were well rewarded. Cher’ley


  8. Great post. There have always been self-absorbed troublemakers, but it’s always seemed to me that the “good kids” outnumber the problems by far. Even if volunteering is being motivated by college applications, the experience often opens new worlds for them.


  9. Thanks for sharing about this event, Joe — it’s a great reminder to all, no matter what age, that GOOD is out there and that one generation doesn’t own the label. Congrats to all involved for an endeavor well done!


  10. I wanted to say GREAT JOB to both you and the students. There are good and bad people of all ages. I am sure their desire to help stems not only from what their parents have told them, but from the influences of their teachers as well.


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