School is about to start again. In Austria when a child starts school he/she receives a Schultüte. A Schultüte is a decorated cone filled with candy, pencils, stickers, and much more. I still remember how excited I was to receive my first Schultüte at the beginning of elementary school … it was dark blue and had a princess picture.

Schultüte or not, the first day of school is a big deal for all involved, kids, parents and teachers. I didn’t realize until many, many years after my first school day how expensive it is for parents to make sure that their kids start off the school year with all the supplies they need, plus a new set of clothes.

If you follow our twitter feed or blog you already know that last Friday Ideba Marketing helped fill 515 backpacks one for each student at Boise-Elliot Elementary School in North Portland. This effort was organized by Schoolhouse Supplies, an organization that provides free supplies for students and teachers in the Portland area. My husband, a school counselor, shared that at his school the current budget allows for only one case of paper per teacher per school year! This is just one example of how tight school budgets are this year.

Surrounded by fellow volunteers from JP Morgan Chase, Fios, Image Pressworks, iovation and the Portland Opera, I could almost feel my smile growing bigger and bigger … think Julia Roberts :)

For the rest of the day and throughout the weekend I noticed that more people than usual smiled at me, the elevator was there when I needed it, nobody honked when I tried (for some time) to park my car into a very small parking space. Coincidence? Maybe, maybe not! All I know is that it felt great to volunteer for an afternoon! If you haven’t yet, go try it soon! It helps others and is likely to put you in a good mood.

Please take the time to share your volunteer experience(s) and keep the smiles going.

By Sandra Augustin, Art Director